Ghana

Chief Justice set to establish tax court to help GRA prosecute defaulters

File photo: Gavel

Chief Justice Anim-Yeboah has announced plans to establish a tax court to deal with the prosecution and other related cases.

This was contained in a letter to the President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) dated April 16.

Justice Kwesi Anim Yeboah, in the letter, noted that the court is expected to deal with tax cases as well as prosecution of defaulters.

This, he added, “was based on representation from Ghana Revenue Authority”.

The court according to the Chief Justice will be located in Accra at the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal within the Supreme Court buildings. 

Justice Kwesi Anim Yeboah was, therefore, seeking the views of the Association in terms of any reservations and misgivings before the court is fully rolled out. The letter was, however, silent on the effective date that the court will be ready.

Ghana Revenue Authority on the Proposed Court
Speaking to JoyBusiness, the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority Reverend Ammishaddai  Owusu Amoah noted that the court should go a long way to aid compliance.

He said it will also ensure swift decisions are made by the courts when it comes to tax offences adding that “this expected to give real meaning to our prosecution policy for tax offences  in Ghana.”

The Commissioner General added that it will also send signals to businesses that it will be in their interest to be tax complaint that to wait to prosecuted by the state.

On the proposed date for the court to take off, the commissioner General noted that significant progress has been by the Judicial service for the expected announcement to be made soon.

What are experts saying?

Law lecture and tax consultant, Dr Abdallah Ali Nakyea has described the court as very necessary adding that “such courts to assist in prosecuting tax offenders.”

“It will also lead to improvement in voluntary tax compliance because since no one would wish to be prosecuted, taxpayers will up their game in voluntary tax compliance” he added.

The Director of Ali-Nakyea and Associate noted it will help the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to recover a lot of outstanding debts with taxpayers from taxes not in dispute.

He added, “Domestic resource mobilisation will be enhanced as the GRA, through the courts will mop up taxes due from recalcitrant taxpayers.”

The tax consultant added that we have tax courts in the commercial courts dealing with the civil aspects of tax appeals and objections since 2012 when they were established by the then Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.

These courts have brought in their wake erudite judgments like
1. The Telcoms Case involving Scancom, Vodafone and Tigo vs. CG, GRA
2. The Taylor & Taylor vs CG, GRA
3. Beiersdorf Ghana Ltd vrs CH, GRA

However, this one is targeted at the criminal aspects of the tax laws, hence it being situated in the criminal courts, he added.

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