Monday, September 14, 2009

VAT Taskforce gets tough on importers for evading taxes

Reverend John Buabeng, head of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Service Taskforce has tasked traders, who import goods into the country, to supply their tax identification number to the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) or have their goods impounded.He said it was a crime to import one item and label it differently or in some cases, one item could be registered using different names and with the quantities reduced to evade the payment of the appropriate taxes.Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview, Rev. Buabeng said a combined taskforce from the VAT Service, National Security and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service have impounded five vehicles in Takoradi. The vehicles were carrying 1,310 bags of rice with one of them loaded with a quantity of shirts and other clothing, he said, adding that, "The taskforce could not trace the invoice to the supplier of one of the vehicles and this is a lost of revenue to the state" he said. He said the impounding of the vehicles was part of an ongoing nationwide exercise to arrest defaulters of tax.He said importers should endeavour to register and obtain tax identification number before importing goods into the country. "Tax evasion and smuggling of goods is a heinous offence, which is tantamount to prosecution and some times jail sentences", he said. He advised importers to give correct information of their businesses to make tracking easier for VAT officials. He warned people who serve as agent of importers to desist from such acts and register with the service.

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