PROFILE OF THE GHANA REVENUE AUTHORITY

WELCOME TO GHANA REVENUE AUTHORITY

INTRODUCTION

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is a semi-autonomous public institution established by law as a body corporate, to replace the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Value Added Tax Service (VATS) and the Revenue Agencies Governing Board Secretariat (RAGB) for the administration of taxes and custom duties in Ghana. This represents a change in identity for the revenue agencies – CEPS, IRS and VATS. It also means a unitization of the administration of taxes and customs duties in Ghana. The merger of the three revenue agencies into an integrated and modernized revenue authority is part of a worldwide trend in which separate revenue agencies are brought together to achieve efficiency and effectiveness.

The GRA as a revenue authority is very strategic in the achievement of national goals. Therefore one important objective of the integration and modernization process is the review and modernization of processes and procedures with the view of improving the quality of service delivery to taxpayers and the general public, create a customer-oriented revenue authority and enhance voluntary tax compliance.

Brief History

In December 2009, the three tax revenue agencies, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Value Added Tax Service (VATS) and the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB) Secretariat were merged in accordance with the Ghana Revenue Authority Act 2009, Act 791.  The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) thus replaces the revenue agencies in the administration of taxes and customs duties in the country.

Legal Basis

The passage of the GRA Act in December, 2009 provides the legal framework for the rebirth of Ghana’s revenue system through integration and modernization. The establishment law is the Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791). This law was passed in December 2009 to achieve three main things:

  • Integrate the management of Domestic Tax and Customs
  • Modernise Domestic Tax and Customs operations through the review of processes and procedures
  • Integrate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Value Added Tax Service (VATS) into domestic tax operations on functional lines.

Why Reform in Revenue Administration

The reform, integration and modernization of Ghana’s tax system is a direct response to the myriad of challenges that beset the country’s tax collection system. These include:

  • Fragmentation of domestic tax administration between the Value Added Tax Service (VATS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) resulting in revenue losses.
  • Duplicated support functions across the Revenue Agencies with different systems and structures.
  • Pursuit of independent reforms by the revenue agencies- ISO certification at Customs, computerization at Customs and VATS, late computerization at IRS.
  • Lack of a strong, unified headquarters to support and manage the operations of the Domestic Tax administration and the Customs in a holistic manner.
  • Existence of significant weaknesses in the key functions and business processes needed to administer a modern tax system and a focus on tax type instead of functional basis of tax administration.

These challenges made it necessary for reforms and modernization to be introduced. The solution therefore is to focus on functional revenue administration, improved customer service delivery, review of systems and procedures, supported by a strong ICT base and taxpayer segmentation.

Divisions of GRA

GRA has three main divisions:

  1. Customs Division
  2. Domestic Tax Revenue Division
  3. Support Services Division

The three-winged structure designed to ensure maximum efficiency in the Authority’s core business of revenue mobilization merges the management support services of finance, administration, human resource, and research of the erstwhile agencies under one Support Services Division, leaving the Customs Division and the Domestic Tax Revenue Division unencumbered by peripheral functions to focus entirely on revenue collection with Support Services Division supporting them with the required management services.

Vision 

To be a world class revenue administration recognised for professionalism, integrity and excellence.

Mission

To mobilise revenue for national development in a transparent, fair, effective and efficient manner.

We will achieve this through:

  • Professional and friendly client services
  • Promotion of voluntary compliance
  • Application of modern technology
  • Effective border protection
  • A well trained, disciplined and highly motivated staff

Core Values

  • Integrity and fairness in our service delivery
  • Teamwork, innovation and professionalism are our hallmarks

Motto

  Governance Structure

  • The GRA Board is responsible for policy formulation, direction and governance.
  • The Authority is headed by the Commissioner-General, who is responsible for the strategic direction and day to day management of the Authority’s affairs.
  • The three Divisions are headed by three (3) Commissioners.

There are seventeen 19 Departments each headed by a Deputy Commissioner, with five responsible for corporate-wide functions.       

The GRA Brand

Definition of symbols and colours

The Golden eagle represent a strong and visionary leadership with relentless determination to optimize tax revenue while keeping a watchful eye on non- compliant taxpayers.

The Cowry represents national revenue.

The colour “Blue” signifies the sky being the limit of our effort at revenue mobilization.

 ”Yellow” denotes the wealth of the nation from which revenue is mobilize

Acts Administered

The GRA is responsible for the administration of the following Acts:

 Internal Revenue Act, 2015, Act 896

 Taxpayers Identification Numbering System Act, 2002, Act 632.

 Stamp Duty Act, 2005, Act 689.

 Internal Revenue (Registration of Businesses) Act, 2005,Act 684.

 Petroleum Income Tax Act (PNDCL 188 of 1987).

 Casino Revenue Tax Act (NRCD 200 of 1973).

 Airport Tax Act, 1963, Act 209.

 Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Act. (PNDCL330 of 1993).

 Gambling Machines Act (NRCD 174 of 1973).

 Value Added Tax Act, 2013, Act 870.

 Communications Service Tax Act, 2008, Act 754.

 Ghana Education Trust Fund Act, 2000, Act 581.

 Customs House Agents Licensing Act 1978 (SMCD 188)

 Customs and Excise (Petroleum Taxes and Petroleum Related Levies) Act 1985 (Act 685)

 Customs and Excise (Duties and Other Taxes) Act 1996 (Act 512)

 Special Petroleum Tax 2014 (Act 879)

 The Debt Recovery (Tema Oil Refinery Company) Fund Act 2003, (Act 642)

 Special Import Levy Act 2013 (Act 861)

 National Fiscal Stabilization Levy Act 2013 (Act 862)

 Excise Tax Stamp Act 2013 (Act 873)

 Excise Duty Act 2014 (Act 878)

Objects of GRA

The objects of the Authority are to:

  1. Provide a holistic approach to tax and customs administration;
  2. Reduce administrative and tax compliance cost and provide better service to taxpayers;
  3. Promote efficient collection of revenue and the equitable distribution of tax burden and ensure greater transparency and integrity.
  4. Ensure greater accountability to Government for the professional management of tax administration;
  5. Improve information linkage and sharing of information among the Divisions of the Authority;
  6.  Provide a one-stop-shop service for taxpayers for the submission of returns and payment of taxes;
  7. Provide common tax procedures that enable tax payers to be governed by a single set of rules: and
  8. Provide for other matters related to the improvement of revenue administration.

Functions 

In order to achieve the above objects, the Authority has been charged to perform the following functions:

  1. Assess and collect taxes, interest and penalties on taxes due to the Republic with optimum efficiency;
  2. Pay the amounts collected into the Consolidated Fund unless otherwise provided by       this Act and other Acts;
  3. Promote tax compliance and tax education;
  4. Combat tax fraud and evasion and co-operate to that effect with other competent law enforcement agencies and revenue agencies in other countries;
  5. Advise District Assemblies on the assessment and collection of their revenue;
  6. Prepare and publish reports and statistics related to its revenue collection;
  7. Make recommendations to the Minister on revenue collection policy; and
  8. Perform any other function in relation to revenue as directed by the Minister or assigned to it under any other enactment.

Core Functions of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division

– To identify all domestic taxpayers.

– Assess the taxpayer to tax.

– Collect the tax and penalties assessed.

– Pay all amounts collected into the Consolidated Fund.

Core Functions of the Customs Division

  • To collect and protect revenue
  • To facilitate trade
  • To protect public health and safety
  • To contribute to National Security

Core Functions of the Support Services Division

  • To manage the Human resource
  • To provide financial support
  • To provide information technology services
  • To build and manage the capacity of human resource
  • To undertake research, planning and monitoring

Benefits of the Reform in Revenue Administration

The integration of the Revenue Agencies will bring the following benefits to taxpayers and tax administration.

  • The command structure for tax and customs revenue administration will be well defined
  • There will be holistic approach to Domestic Tax and Customs Administration
  • Departmental flow of information within the Authority will be enhanced.
  • There will be a one-stop- shop service for taxpayers for the submission of returns and payments of taxes and thereby enhanced customer service delivery
  • A single source for tax enquiries will be provided
  • Reduced administrative and tax compliance cost
  • There will be common tax procedures that will enable taxpayers to be governed by a single set of rules
  • The tax net will be widened
  • There will be equitable distribution of tax burden, greater transparency and integrity
  • Revenue mobilization will be efficient and enhanced

Offices

The Head Office is located in Accra, off the Starlet ‘91 Street, near the Accra Sports Stadium. 

 Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD)

The offices of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) have been designed to cater for taxpayers depending on their size of business. Taxpayers with annual turnover of more than GHC5m are categorised as large taxpayers who transact business with the Large Taxpayer Office (LTO).

Taxpayers with annual turnover of more than GHC90, 000 but up to GHC5m are classified as medium taxpayers and transact business at the Medium Taxpayer Offices (MTO). Also, businesses with a turnover of up to GHC90, 000 are designated as small taxpayers and transact business with the Small Taxpayer Offices (STO).

The segmentation of taxpayers makes it easier for GRA to provide sufficient attention to the needs of the various categories of businesses as well as provide improved service delivery. The GRA has established one LTO, 15 MTOs and 50 STOs. The STOs are supported by Sub offices located across the country.

Customs Division

The offices of the Customs Division are known as Collections. There are thirteen (13) Collections, each with sub-collections. These sub collections are known as stations which also have Points /Barriers that carry out preventive duties. The Customs Division has a Customs Academy located in Kpetoe in the Volta region.

Taxes Administered

 The GRA administers Direct and Indirect Taxes categorized broadly under Domestic and Customs (International).

DISCLAIMER

This information is strictly for purposes of guidance to our clientele and should not at any one time be used in place of the substantive law; and is subject to change on amendment of tax legislations and any other regulations governing the tax administration.