The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has cautioned Accra Brewery Limited and Kasapreko Company Limited that it will not hesitate to revoke their operational licence and impose other appropriate sanctions if the companies flout the tax stamp law.
It emerged yesterday during GRA's tax stamp compliance and enforcement exercise in Accra that the two companies had transferred the tax stamps for current production to its distributors to affix them on old stock.
According to Chief Revenue Officer and Head of Excise Unit of the GRA, Kwabena Anto Apau, the practice was an infringement on the tax stamp law.
"We have three categories of tax stamps including the one for current production, one for importers who have been authorised by the GRA to affix tax stamps on the affected imported goods and one for old stock which preceded the implementation of the policy. If a company has old stock in their wholesale points, they are required to inform the GRA so we can carry out an inventory and issue the corresponding number of tax stamps.
"No one is allowed to transfer any stamp to any wholesale, distribution or retail points. The stamp we gave them was for current production and not old stock to help us in reconciliation," he stated.
Such violations, Mr Apau said, could lead to the imposition of fine amounting to 300 per cent of the required duties and taxes, a prison term of five years for the persons involved and a revocation of licence for production.
In the meantime, officials of the two companies, he said, would be invited to the GRA to explain their actions, adding that the revelations support reports received by the Authority that the tax stamps were being handed over to traders in the various markets.
He stressed that the GRA would not relent in enforcing the tax stamp law and would impose sanctions, if necessary, to ensure compliance.
In a related development, a number of shops and retail points in Accra had their goods confiscated for making available for sale of goods without the tax stamp.
De Latyoya Enterprise at Osu, Voltic Retail Centre at Achimota Neoplan, N. J Ventures and Joes Ventures, both at Mile 7, were all affected by the exercise.
Mr Apau said that retailers and distributors who flout the tax stamp law to sell goods without the tax stamps will have their goods confiscated and prosecuted.
He explained that the seizures were in line with the Tax Stamp Act which enjoins retailers and distributors to insist on the manufacturers and importers to supply them with goods with tax stamps or suffer the corresponding penalties.
"We have engaged the manufacturing companies and the importers on their role in the implementation of the excise tax stamp. The law further requires of retailers, wholesalers and distributors to insist that goods supplied to them have the tax stamps.
"It further places a responsibility on all retailers and distributors not to make available for sale any of the excisable products without the stamp and if they violate that provision, then they must suffer the consequences," the Head of Excise Unit stated.
In order to protect retailers and distributors, he explained that in October this year, the GRA embarked on several compliance and enforcement at the manufacturing companies and importers licenced to affix tax stamps to stop the distribution of goods without the tax stamps.