IRS chases recalcitrant tax dodgers

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the Western Region has begun a full-scale exercise to compel recalcitrant business entities to pay outstanding arrears.

From December last year, the service begun-to attach close down notices to shops and business premises which had failed to honour their full tax obligations to the state.

Although, businesses were required by law to pay taxes on their incomes some had failed to do that.

“Therefore, as the year 2010 got to a close, the IRS visited all premises and those that could not be reached had the notice” See IRS”, written on their doors.

“We had to go for the recalcitrant ones from December because that is the time to get them to pay their outstanding debts owed to the IRS”, the public relations officer in charge of tax education at the IRS, Mr.Charles Forson, told the Times on Wednesday.

Although he could not readily say how much the business organisations owed, he said, the situation was problematic saying “we have our targets and we still need the money. If you owe, we will still carry it into the next year.”

Mr Forson said that, it was the taxes paid by businesses for example, that the government used to execute projects like schools and hospitals.

“The law states that everybody in business working and making profits must pay taxes and the onus lies on you (the tax payer) to pay the taxes” he said.

The PRO said that businesses were encouraged to have voluntary payments of the taxes but some had refused to do that.

He said that, the IRS has been educating businesses on their tax obligations but some claimed that, business had not been good adding that it was an “unpleasant duty” for people to pay their taxes.

Mr Forson said, when that arose the service began to reach the debtors and do “face to face talking” with them and also caution them to pay after an assessment had been done.

If that failed then the IRS would launch into full gear, and close them down.

“We began at dawn last December and locked up the recalcitrant stores and then attached the commissioners tape then wrote “See IRS” notice on the doors to force them to pay their debts” he told the Times.

He said some of the business owners had followed up to pay their arrears.

He said that the IRS would continue to hold tax education programmes for people to understand the importance of paying the taxes stressing, “The govemment needs the money to carry out its programmes of national development”

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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