The former president of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Sam Okudzeto, is calling for the prosecution of lawyers who are evading taxes.
The President Nana Akufo-Addo said that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the National Identification Authority (NIA), through a joint effort, have discovered that there are roughly 60,000 professionals in Ghana who do not pay any personal taxes at all. They include lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers and architects.
“They [the professionals] will soon be receiving friendly phone calls from the tax authority. I sincerely hope that those involved will move swiftly to regularise their tax affairs before the GRA moves to crack the wipe,” Akufo-Addo said at the 2021 GBA annual conference in Bolgatanga.
Speaking on Asaase Radio’s The Big Bulletin with Beatrice Adu, Okudzeto said the system must work and those defaulting lawyers must be punished.
An old issue
“It’s an old issue… tax is an obligation of every citizen. Lawyers who are supposed to be enforcers of the law must set examples for others to follow, so I think they must be prosecuted if they are not paying their taxes,” Okudzeto said.
He added: “I understand some lawyers are collecting cash and it’s not being recorded. It’s an offense if they are not issuing receipts… if there is proper system in place it means that there will be officers who will go round and inspect the books of the company.”
Blame the system
Okudzeto also blamed politicisation of the administration of justice as one of the reasons the problem has persisted.
“Because we discriminate; if you’re my opponent then the law will be enforced against you, if you’re in my favour we turn a blind eye to you. We are all supposed to obey the law. The rules are not made for one person or against one person, all of us should obey it. Whoever disobeys the law, should pay the penalty no matter who you are,” Okudzeto added.