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ABL defends its action on application of tax stamps on old stock

Accra Brewery Limited (ABL) has defended its action in media reports regarding the Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) enforcement action on some of its Key Distributors (KDs) in relation to the tax stamp policy.

A press statement signed by Adwoa Aaba Arthur, Legal and Corporate Affairs Director at ABL, and copied to the GNA, said ABL’s decision to provide tax stamps to the company’s key distributors were borne out of a genuine intention to comply with the GRA’s directives to all manufacturers to ensure that their products were affixed with tax stamps before they could be sold on the market.

“As you may already be aware, the GRA on 2nd October 2018 commenced an enforcement exercise which led to the prevention of the sale of excisable products without tax stamps,” it said.

“ABL would like to state that the company has ensured full compliance with the tax stamp policy since October 2018 as all products leaving our brewery from the period of enforcement have been affixed with the appropriate tax stamps.  ABL is also aware that stocks which had left ABL’s premises prior to the 1st October but sitting with our KD’s had to be affixed with tax stamps before they could be sold. As such and in good faith, ABL provided tax stamps to our Key Distributors across the country to manually affix the tax stamps onto these products,” the statement said.

It said the company is not aware of the requirement to acquire different tax stamps to be affixed on old stock produced and delivered to KDs prior to the implementation of the policy.

“The company offers a full apology for the unintended consequence the quest to comply with the stamp policy by providing the stamps to its KDs may have caused.”

“Further, we wish to state that the decision to apply the tax stamps on old stock has not led to the loss of excise tax revenue due GRA from ABL. ABL in line with the excise legislation of the country calculates and remits its taxes to the Ghana Revenue Authority on a monthly basis. As a result, the excise taxes due on the products in the warehouse of our KDS have already been remitted to the GRA in line with the excise tax laws. We also would like to state that the GRA has resident excise officers on ABL’s premises who ensure the correct excise amount is declared and paid to the GRA on a monthly basis. As the GRA itself has indicated, the excise tax stamp policy does not create a new tax but rather serves as another level of compliance for excise taxes,” it said.

The statement said ABL is a compliant tax payer and a major contributor to the excise tax revenue of the government, adding that the company remained committed to its tax compliance culture and its continuous engagement with the GRA and the government in the quest to roll out the tax stamp policy and support all other tax policies of the State including the withholding VAT regime where ABL was chosen amongst a selected group of companies by the GRA to serve as agents for the government for the successful implementation of the withholding VAT scheme.

The statement said subsequent to ABL’s attention drawn to the issue, ABL has engaged the GRA to carry out the necessary reconciliations on all stamps issued to date and to ensure both worked together to get the company’s stock produced prior to the 1st October and sitting with our KDs to be affixed with the appropriate stamps.

Source: GNA

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