Individuals without tax identification numbers (TINs) will not be able to access essential services at state agencies with effect from April 3, 2018, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has said.
As a result, patrons seeking services at the Passport Office, the banks, courts, the ports, the Lands Commission, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Registrar-General’s Department and other state agencies will not be served.
The TIN is a unique 11-digit number required under the Revenue Administration Act (RAA) 2016 (Act 915) which is expected to enable taxpayers to transact business with ease.
In accordance with the RAA, the GRA is mandated to set up a taxpayer identification numbering system for the purpose of identifying taxpayers and promoting tax compliance.
The implementation of the RAA took effect on Monday, April 1, 2018, but because it was a holiday, the enforcement of the law was deferred to Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
The Commissioner General of the GRA, Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti, announced this in Accra during an interaction with journalists on the enforcement of the TIN.
“No taxpayer can engage in any form of business transaction without a TIN from today. We have had a series of meetings with all the institutions involved to ensure the smooth operation of the policy,” he said.
The list of institutions listed under the RAA to apply the TIN include the Registrar-General’s Department, the Lands Commission, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Passport Office, the DVLA, the courts, the Controller and Accountant- General’s Department and the GRA.
The rest are ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, manufacturing companies and other public institutions that provide essential and social services.
“It, therefore, means that one cannot transact business with these institutions without a TIN. An individual cannot clear goods from the ports, register land documents with the Lands Commission, obtain a tax clearance certificate, open a bank account, register a company, file a case at the courts, obtain a passport or a driver’s license, register a vehicle, bid for contracts from government agencies or conduct business and receive payment for contracts done for government, among others,” he said.
Additionally, professionals such as doctors, lawyers and surveyors could not renew their licenses without a TIN, he added.
Mr. Nti, therefore, urged all taxpayers, including business owners, employees of state and private institutions, business operators and all persons liable to pay tax or from whom taxes were withheld at sources as employees or agents to register with the GRA for a TIN and be tax compliant.
The TIN would also address issues of tax evasion by individuals and companies and instances of taxpayers owning more than one tax certificate, he said.
He explained that existing businesses were also required to re-register as taxpayers to enable the GRA to capture credible data to enhance revenue administration.
He reiterated the fact that all taxpayers must have the 11-digit number to help the GRA identify taxpayers and for the authority to credit taxpayers whenever they paid their taxes.
So far, he said, the authority had registered 1,090,338 taxpayers, while all the institutions required by the law to implement the TIN had modified their forms to include a field for the provision of a TIN.
“The GRA expects the institutions mentioned to demand for the TIN of their clients before transacting business with them,” Mr. Nti said.
He said the commencement of the demand by institutions for the TIN before transaction did not signify the closure of the registration for TIN.
“TIN registration is still ongoing. The authority will continue to receive, process and register new applications” he said.
The registration could be done in any GRA office and online on the GRA website or “you can visit any GRA office with a coloured photocopy of any form of identification, such as a driver’s license, a national identification card, a voter identification card or passport, and you will be registered within a few minutes, at no cost”.
Because the registration was free, Mr. Nti urged the public to “report any official of the GRA who violates this principle”, adding: “Such erring staff will be severely sanctioned.”