JoyNews investigations have uncovered how some staff of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) aid businesses bidding for contracts to circumvent laid down procedures in the acquisition of tax clearance certificates for them.
With a paltry sum of ¢1,500, officials are able to forge tax records for newly created companies without any evidence of work.
With the knowledge of using the phony business company, the investigative reporter approached the GRA staff we have decided to call Maame to assist in the acquisition of a tax clearance certificate.
She indicated that once I need a tax clearance certificate I will be required to make a deposit.
“A clearance certificate with the VAT record would cost you ¢1,500,” she explained.
She further gave an insight into how the syndicate works.
“We are short of certificates, but, some offices have them. Those who work on that schedule, have hoarded them. That’s why it costs that much,” she added.
She indicated that the reason why she couldn’t get me a tax clearance certificate at her office is that ‘it’s a strict setting”.
“But, I would use another office which is the Agbogbloshie GRA office which is lax to work on it for you,” she revealed.
In less than three days, my tax clearance certificate for barely a week old business was ready.
A quick look at the document with the inscription – tax clearance certificate – and its values would pass off as authentic. But, every detail on it is forged.
It was prepared by GRA staff at Agbogbloshie office covering three years of assessment and VAT certificate. It reads… “provisionally not liable to tax, deposit ¢500.”
This should help the investigative team secure a government contract with ease.
Head of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Edward Gyamerah, said a tax clearance certificate is a compliance tool that the GRA uses to ensure a taxpayer has complied with their tax obligations.
“Once a tax clearance certificate is given to you, it means you have complied with your tax obligations to the state,” he added.
Touching on the JoyNews expose, he said once an individual registers a company, they are required to register with the GRA.
“Once you have registered the company, you can put in a request for a tax clearance certificate to transact business,” he explained.
He, however, indicated that it’s fraudulent for a newly created company to be placed in a picture suggesting they have been paying tax when that’s not the case.
He indicated that they will investigate to establish how the tax clearance certificate was issued and “if it’s found out it was done fraudulently, sanctions will be applied to the tax officer and the company.”