The Commissioner-General for the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Reverend Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah says the government’s decision to replace the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of individuals with their Ghana Card number is a step in the right direction, especially for the banks.
This according to him is because, the Banks have over the years faced challenges when it comes to syncing details of Ghanaian taxpayers into a database.
The problem he says stems from doubts and uncertainty on the type of Identification Card that should be widely used and accepted as the standard.
He however disclosed that a new system that permits Banks to accept the Ghana Card and TIN number requires Banks to be open-minded and IT aware.
“The approach is to ensure that this data is being matched …And since this is where we are going, it is in the interest of every stakeholder to aggressively participate and make sure that they are online, otherwise, you will be left out,” he stressed.
This development comes at the back of inconsistencies within the banking sector and GRA’s tax collection procedure where taxpayers couldn’t file tax returns because Banks were reluctant to accept some types of Identification Cards.
“Anytime you have a card that a Bank has a reluctance to accept, it’s more because the Bank hasn’t linked its system to your system to ensure the ability to verify or validate the card,” he said.
This rendered the GRA at a loss.
In view of this, the Authority designed a system that could accept every ID card to be used for a Bank transaction, such as ITaPS and ICUMS to make it more convenient for taxpayers to honour their tax obligations and also to prevent tax evasion and avoidance.
“The Bank should be able to identify all cards now,” he stressed in an interview with JoyNews’ George Wiafe on PM Express Business edition.
“Previously what Banks were doing is that they collect them [ID cards] and later they go and verify…but today, for everything you are doing – if it’s the passport, you have got to make sure that there is a database where if I bring my passport, I will be able to get into the database online and be able to see that this passport really belongs to this person,” he added.
In this direction, the Commissioner-General said taxpayers are at liberty to use the Ghana Card Identity Number for tax purposes without necessarily applying for a TIN number.
“This replacement of identification will enable the organisations share important data and also help identify and rope in eligible taxpayers, especially in the informal sector,” he said.
“Taxpayers will also not spend time in acquiring TINs as they will use the Ghana Card Identity Number for tax purposes,” he added.
Additionally, Rev. Owusu-Amoah said the GRA would step up efforts to tax players in the e-commerce market, a sector that has been challenging over the years.