Ghana has joined the league of nations that allow their citizens to file their tax returns online following the launch in Accra of the Ghana Revenue Authority's Integrated Tax Application Preparation System (iTaPS) on Friday 5th April, 2019.
The development and launch of the application comes a year after the Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, challenged the management of the GRA to come up with a simplified electronic filing system that will enable taxpayers file their tax returns using their phones or computers at their convenience.
The app is an e-services platform that will enable taxpayers to prepare, apply and receive GRA services online. With this, both individuals and soon, companies will be able to file their annual tax returns at their own convenience.
The app allows, electronically, access to TAX Clearance Certificate (e-TCC) as well as Withholding Tax Credit Certificate (e-Tax Credit) and VAT Withholding Tax Credit Certificate (e-VAT Credit)
The iTaPS also seeks to assist taxpayers to keep the records required to fulfil their tax obligations, with the GRA also aiming to improve its performance of Tax Administration Diagnostic Tools (TADAT) ranking under voluntary compliance.
As well, the digital app will improve the quality of tax returns submitted by the payers. According to the GRA, issues surrounding revenue assurance, convenience and simplicity have also been addressed by the app.
As a result, taxpayers have the option of either filing their returns via mobile money or online.
Speaking at the joint launch of the 2019 Tax and Good Governance Week and iTaPS, a clearly delighted Vice President Bawumia commended the GRA, especially the Commissioner-General, for taking up the challenge and delivering as expected.
"This software has been carefully designed and developed to give the taxpayer an easy and convenient way of fulfilling his or her civic responsibility of filing and paying taxes. I am happy to say that I have personally filed my 2018 returns through i-TaPS and so has the Senior Minister, the Minister of Finance, and the Majority Leader," he disclosed.
The Vice President was confident that the widespread use of the application would further widen the tax net, from the present 2.1 bn taxpayers, bringing in the revenue needed to develop the nation and keep essential programmes like the Free Senior High School going.
Noting that Ghana's development would have to be undertaken with Ghanaian taxes and resources, Vice President Bawumia urged all to take advantage of the convenience provided by the iTaPS to fulfil their civic obligations.
"Government is fully committed to its goal of moving the economy from one of taxation towards production. It is worth noting that this means allowing production and profits first before taxation but not a complete turn away from taxation.
"As a matter of fact, now is rather the time for us as Ghanaians to contribute our quota to the national coffers. This will enable the country to have enough resources to provide for the Free SHS for our children, national health insurance, revamp our railway sector, construct new roads, improve existing ones and meet all other legitimate demands of our compatriots. These we must do with our own resources because that is the surest and most reliable motor for sustainable development.
"By filing our tax returns and paying the appropriate taxes, we will be acting as our brother's keeper. I therefore call on all income earning persons to obey the tax laws, file their annual tax returns and pay the appropriate taxes on due dates because our taxes are our future."