The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) taskforce has arrested five managers of shopping malls at Spintex Road in Accra for allegedly evading tax on the electronic Value Added Tax (VAT) system.
The companies are China Mall, Sneda Shopping Mall, and Fresh First Limited, which were found not to be issuing the e-VAT while Palace Mall and Shoprite at the Junction Mall were faulted for issuing receipts with duplicate signatures of the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
The Managers were sent to the Customs office at the headquarters for their statements before they were handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police.
The initiative is part of an ongoing nationwide VAT invigilation exercise to ensure tax compliance and retrieve taxes due the State.
The Commissioner in charge of Domestic Tax Revenue Division at the GRA, Mr Edward Appenteng Gyamerah said the GRA had found that some taxpayers were issuing invoices that were not certified by the Commissioner-General as required by law.
He said under section 41 of the VAT Act 2013, (Act 870) as amended by Act 1082 and Act 1087, every registered VAT taxpayer was required to issue an electronic VAT invoice with details that are prescribed by the Commissioner General when they provided services or supplied goods.
The investigations, he said, found that some taxpayers were involved in the issuance of false tax invoices or sales receipts, while others had failed to integrate the certified invoicing system into the invoicing system of the GRA Commissioner General.
Mr Gyamerah stated that the punishment for such infractions 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.
He said people who flouted the law could also be charged under sections 78 and 82 of the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) that focused on failure to comply with a tax law and impeding tax administration, respectively.
Mr Gyamerah said the Authority had sent out its officials across the country to fish out companies that were not complying with the law.
“The Commissioner-General will prosecute all persons found to have committed offences under the provisions of the tax laws,” he said.
The Commissioner urged the public and all VAT taxpayers to report any tax infractions to the Authority for the necessary action to be taken.
Mr Joseph Annan, Area Enforcement Manager of GRA, in charge of Accra Central, said the Authority as part of a nationwide invigilation would continue to embark on surprise shopping exercises across the country to apprehend culprits evading tax.