As part of its ongoing exercise to clamp down on businesses evading tax on the electronic Value Added Tax (VAT) system, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) task force has clamped down on four more businesses in Accra.
The managers of the businesses were picked up by the task force leading the operation.
The businesses are Buildmart (Paint and Accessories shop in Adabraka), Bedarts Cold Supplies (Nungua), Excelelnce Boutique (Lashibi) and YAT Ventures (Maamobi).
The companies were not issuing the e-VAT invoice as required by law.
The Managers were taken to the Customs office at the headquarters for statements before being turned over to the Police Criminal Investigation Department.
The initiative is part of a nationwide VAT invigilation effort to ensure tax compliance and recover taxes owed to the state.
Section 41 of the VAT Act 2013, (Act 870), as amended by Acts 1082 and 1087, required every registered VAT taxpayer to issue an electronic VAT invoice with the details prescribed by the Commissioner General when providing services or supplying goods.
Joseph Annan, the Accra Central Area Enforcement Officer of the GRA explained that the punishment for such infractions under the VAT Act included a fine of up to 1,500 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of up to five years, or both, in addition to a penalty of up to GH50,000 or three times the amount of tax involved.
People who broke the law could also face charges under sections 78 and 82 of the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915), which deal with failing to comply with tax law and impeding tax administration, respectively.
He emphasised the need for businesses to meet their tax commitments to avoid the GRA coming down on them.
When asked why the GRA does not invite the companies to their offices to deal with the matter, he stated that the GRA sends disguised officers to come and buy from registered businesses and when they fail to voluntarily comply with the law in issuing the VAT at all times, they have violated the law and must be arrested.
“It is not about being invited. We are enforcing the law. You have gone against Section 41 of the VAT Act where you are supposed to issue the invoice. So once you failed to do so, you have committed an offence for which are supposed to be arrested and that is what we are doing now. Once you are arrested, you have to go put your statement down with the CID,” he added.