Plans are far advanced to enable the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to begin utilizing fully automated systems to improve the efficiency of domestic revenue mobilization collection.
The measures include an electronic filing and payment system, introduction of Fiscal Electronic Devices (FEDs) and a software revenue collection application. These measures are all expected to begin this year.
The move has become necessary as the Authority seeks to remove all bottlenecks associated with tax collection processes and takes advantage of technology to enable taxpayers to file their tax returns and make payments without having to go through the arduous manual process.
Business automation process systems will streamline and bring transparency in the operations as the GRA seeks to meet its set target of over Gh¢44 billion for the 2019 fiscal year.
When fully introduced, prospective taxpayers would have the convenience and comfort of filing their tax returns and actually making payments using the electronic filing and payment systems from their homes and offices instead of having to go physically to the various domestic tax offices in the country where at times people have to queue for quite long before accessing services.
According to the Authority, the modalities of the automation process will commence from the Large Taxpayers Office (LTO) who will have their returns filed electronically and payment is done in similar fashion before moving on to the Medium Taxpayers Office (MTO).
The Authority has also served notice to the public that the FEDs will be made available to all potentially VAT registered persons in the country to be used for the supply of goods and services.
The devices will issue fiscal receipt invoices after every business transaction. Immediately invoices are issued, it will notify the GRA server of all transactions.
What this means is that even before the taxpayer goes to make a declaration of the transaction, the Authority would already have foreknowledge of how much sales and transactions have transpired within stipulated periods of time.
It is expected that the introduction of the FEDs will eventually maximize revenue mobilization as their use will enable the Authority to track and validate all sales transactions. A Legislative Instrument is expected to be enacted to also enable other persons and enterprises who do not charge VAT to use the devices as well.
Parliament in May 2018 enacted into law the Fiscal Electronic Device Act, (Act 966) to promote non-cash sales transactions as well as provide for mandatory use of the device by specified categories of taxpayers at every point of sale on the premises of the taxable persons.
To enhance voluntary tax payment and reduce the cost of mobilizing funds, the GRA will soon start to develop a mobile app for taxpayers to file their tax returns and make payment through their mobile money accounts. This follows an urgent directive by the Vice President, Mahamadu Bawumia last year.