The implementation of the new tax, Act 896, 2015, would take effect from January 2016 and would seek to address the narrow and distorted tax base of the old Act.
Mr George Blankson, Director-General of the GRA, said sensitisation and education programmes would be carried out after the launch to enhance public understanding of the Act.
He explained that the integration of the revenue agencies in 2010 necessitated the need for the harmonisation of administrative and new tax laws.
“The Income Tax Act is therefore part of the process of the reorganisation of the tax laws known as the tax law projects,” he said.
While some provisions in the old Act were maintained in the new law, other sections have been modified and new provisions introduced to make compliance easy for taxpayers.
In the new act, specific provisions that guide the different methods and time for payment, including tax payable by withholding, tax payable by instalment and tax payable by assessment have been spelt out to improve and facilitate tax compliance.
Mrs Mona Quartey, Deputy Minister of Finance who launched the new income Tax law said it is complex and user-unfriendly, necessitating the need to replace it with a new Act, which encapsulates international best practices.
“The new act has reorganised the residual provisions in Act 592, simplified it and made it user-friendly, while retaining provisions that are peculiar to income tax administration,” she said.
Mr Quartey said the growth in the business environment calls for a tax administration that is abreast of changing trends.
The acting Deputy Commissioner of the Policy and Programme Unit of the Domestic Tax and Revenue Division of the GRA, Mr Edward Gyamerah, said provisions have been made for income tax exemptions.
“As part of the policy to broaden the tax base; interest paid to an individual is excluded from income that is exempted from tax. This is taxed at a concessionary rate of one per cent as a final tax,” he said.
Pension, he indicated is now included as an exempt income.
A Board Member of the GRA, Mr Ralph Tufour, said Ghanaians must attach urgency to taxation and urged potential and regular income earners to fulfil their tax obligations.