The Small Taxpayer Office (STO), is a department under the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of GRA. The STO caters for taxpayers with an annual turnover of less than GH₵90,000.00.
The STO focuses on small and micro enterprises and manages taxpayers in those sectors.
Distinctive tax types of STOs include:
GRA currently has Fifty (50) STOs across the country which provide a One-stop shop where all domestic tax transactions for taxpayers within the aforementioned categories can be carried out.
The Ghana Revenue Authority came up with the STO as part of its modernisation programme to efficiently utilise its resources in tailoring services that fit taxpayers’ needs.
This approach to tax administration is based on functional lines rather than the previous tax-type basis of administration. Therefore, typical work processes in a domestic tax office can be carried out within these one-stop-shop offices for efficiency.
As part of its mandate, it provides simplified payment systems and returns processing arrangements to reduce compliance cost to taxpayers, and provide specialized services for all small scale self-employed persons eg. masons, in order to rope all into the tax net.
In the coming months, STOs will be transitioned along with MTOs into Taxpayer Service Centres (TSCs). A pilot version of the programme is being rolled out in the Tema and Kumasi Areas and will soon expand into other regions where TSCs will take center stage in the provision of unparalleled tax services.
STOs are established to be a one-stop-shop and customer-friendly tax offices for small taxpayers. That is a single, comprehensive approach to taxpayer services that provides all necessary information and support to meet a taxpayer’s needs in one place. The one-stop-shop enables a taxpayer to register for all current tax obligations, and receive one Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for all tax administration purposes. Taxpayers will obtain tax clearance certificates and other relevant documents from the respective STOs. For instance, they can pay all their domestic taxes (either direct or indirect) at STO. e.g PAYE, Corporate Income Tax,VAT/NHIL, Excise duty etc. STOs have three main functional units namely the Taxpayer Services, Debt Management, Compliance and Enforcement as well as Audit.
The Unit that deals with Taxpayer Services is responsible for all front-line services to taxpayers such as registrations/deregistrations, returns processing and payments, tax education, enquiries/complaints.
This Unit is responsible for back end services to taxpayers such as monitoring the debts of taxpayers, ensuring compliance with returns filing and payment, identifying non-filers and late filers and enforcing payments of tax arrears.
This unit’s function is to improve taxpayer compliance through effective risk-based audit programmes (field and desk audits) and assessments.
Small Taxpayers are presumed to be enterprises and businesses who operate informally and generally do not keep adequate business records. All taxpayers classified under STO are required to meet their responsibilities under the law which include:
The typical STO is headed by a Chief Revenue Officer and assisted by Principal Revenue Officers who are in charge of the Audit, Debt Management, Compliance and Enforcement Unit and then Taxpayer Services.