In December 2009, the three tax revenue agencies, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Value Added Tax Service (VATS) and the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB) Secretariat were merged in accordance with Ghana Revenue Authority Act 2009, Act 791. The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) thus replaces the revenue agencies in the administration of taxes and customs duties in the country.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been established to:
- Integrate the management of Domestic Tax and Customs
- Modernise Domestic Tax and Customs operations through the review of processes and procedures
- Integrate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Value Added Tax Service (VATS) into domestic tax operations on functional lines.
The establishment of the GRA is a culmination of years of plans to streamline the administration of tax collection in Ghana which began in 1986 when CEPS and IRS were taken out of the Civil Service and made semi- autonomous and self accounting public sector institutions with separate boards. The same year, the National Revenue Secretariat (NRS) was set up to formulate revenue policies, manage tax reforms and supervise the activities of CEPS and IRS.
In 1998, the Value Added Tax Service was established to administer VAT and other consumption taxes. The Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB) also began operations in 2001 to supervise and monitor the operations of the Revenue Agencies. In 2002, the Taxpayer Identification Number was introduced to enhance information interchange and risk profiling. Then in 2004, the Large Taxpayer Unit (LTU) was set up to operate on functional lines as a pilot programme for the future integration of tax administration in Ghana as well as to serve the needs of large taxpayers as a one stop shop operation.
It is envisaged that the integration of the Revenue Agencies will bring the following benefits to taxpayers and tax administration.
- Reduced administrative and tax compliance cost
- Better service delivery
- Improved departmental information flow.
- Holistic approach to domestic tax and customs administration
- Enhanced revenue mobilisation
The GRA has three main divisions:
- Customs Division
- Domestic Tax Revenue Division
- Support Services Division
The three-winged structure designed to ensure maximum efficiency in the Authority's core business of revenue mobilisation merges the management support services of finance, administration, research of the erstwhile agencies under one Support Services Division, leaving the Customs Division and the Domestic Tax Revenue Division unencumbered by peripheral functions to focus entirely on revenue collection with Support Services Division supporting them with the required management services.
To be a world class revenue administration recognised for professionalism, integrity and excellence.
To mobilise revenue for national development in a transparent, fair, effective and efficient manner.
We will achieve this through:
- Professional and friendly client services
- Promotion of voluntary compliance
- Application of modern technology
- Effective border protection
- A well trained, disciplined and highly motivated staff
- Integrity and fairness in our service delivery
- Teamwork, innovation and professionalism are our hallmarks
- The Authority is headed by a Commissioner-General
- There are three major Divisions - Domestic Tax Revenue, Customs and Support Services each headed by a Commissioner
- Taxpayers will be segmented into three identifiable groups based on defined criteria (Large, Medium and Small)
- Tax collection will be reorganised on functional lines rather than tax types
- The business processes of domestic taxes will be re-engineered and modernized to increase efficiency.
The objects of the Authority are to:
1. Provide a holistic approach to tax and customs administration;
2. Reduce administrative and tax compliance cost and provide better service to taxpayers;
3. Promote efficient collection of revenue and the equitable distribution of tax burden and ensure greater transparency and integrity.
4. Ensure greater accountability to Government for the professional management of tax administration;
5. Improve information linkage and sharing of information among the Divisions of the Authority;
6. Provide a one-stop service for taxpayers for the submission of returns and payment of taxes;
7. Provide common tax procedures that enable tax payers to be governed by a single set of rules: and
8. Provide for other matters related to the improvement of revenue administration.
In order to achieve the above objects, the Authority has been charged to perform the following functions:
1. Assess and collect taxes, interest and penalties on taxes due to the Republic with optimum efficiency;
2. Pay the amounts collected into the Consolidated Fund unless otherwise provided by this Act and other Acts;
3. Promote tax compliance and tax education;
4. Combat tax fraud and evasion and co-operate to that effect with other competent law enforcement agencies and revenue agencies in other countries;
5. Advise District Assemblies on the assessment and collection of their revenue;
6. Prepare and publish reports and statistics related to its revenue collection;
7. Make recommendations to the Minister on revenue collection policy; and
8. Perform any other function in relation to revenue as directed by the Minister or assigned to it under any other enactment.
The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr George Blankson was appointed in March 2010. A nine-member Governing Board for the Authority has also been inaugurated.
The head office of the GRA is temporarily located on the 6th floor of the Heritage Towers, Ambassadorial Financial Enclave, West Ridge, Accra.
INTERPRETATION OF THE GRA LOGO
The Logo incorporates the GRA motto - Integrity, Fairness and Service.
The Golden Eagles represent a strong and visionary leadership with relentless determination to optimize tax revenue while keeping a watchful eye on non-compliant taxpayers.
The Cowry represents national revenue.
The Scales with the cowries defines our collective resolve to be fair, equitable and firm in the delivery of service to our clients.
The colour Blue signifies the sky being the limit of our effort at revenue mobilization.
The Green banner represents a sense of renewal, self control and harmony in GRA.