Ghanaian News

GRA summons companies over VAT breaches

A swoop by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Accra South Compliance and Enforcement Team and the police has led to the arrest of a woman behind the operation of a chain of supermarkets and a warehouse in the Teshie area for Value Added Tax (VAT) infractions.

The task forces have also summoned the owner of an iron rod company for a similar offence.

The woman, whose identity has been withheld, was arrested on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, when the team visited three of her shops and later went to a warehouse of the company located at Teshie in the Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal District in the Greater Accra Region.

The Manager of a dealer in iron rods and other steel products at Spintex also in the Ledzokuku-Krowor Municipal District in the Greater Accra Region, was also invited to the head office of the GRA for allegedly not registering and failing to issue VAT to his patrons.

The activities of the two companies were earlier identified by officials of the GRA in an undercover test purchasing exercise aimed at finding out the level of compliance by businesses.

As required by law, all suppliers of taxable items, goods or services are to issue VAT invoices while patrons of such goods are also required to obtain VAT invoices for goods they buy.

The computers, supplies invoices and records books of the companies were retrieved by the team for audit purposes while the shops were closed due to their nonconformity to issue the commissioner’s invoice.

Test purchase
Briefing journalists after the operation, the Head of Enforcement and Debt Management for the Accra South Area of the GRA, John Yaw Buabeng, said the authority would conduct pre-emptive assessments and take legal actions to prosecute the business owners if they were found culpable.

He said the companies would be charged under section 58 of the VAT Act 870 for non-issuance of VAT invoices and “the appropriate sanctions will be applied.”

The punishment for infractions such as non-issuance of VAT invoices as provided under the VAT Act included a fine of not more than one hundred penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not more than six months, or both, in addition to a payment of penalty of an amount of not more than GH¢50,000 or three times the amount of tax involved.

A penalty unit is GH¢12.

“When we did the text purchase from the businesses, they did not issue the commissioner’s VAT invoice.

By the brisk nature of their business, they should have a computer-generated invoice.

We found that they do highly selective issuance of invoices and even that they had to call for approval.”

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