COVID-19: Health Personnel Without TIN May Not Get Incentives Allocated - GRA
AG. Commissioner-General of the GRA, Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah
The acting Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah has hinted that health workers who do not have the Tax Identification Number (TIN) may not enjoy the incentives allocated by government to motivate frontline workers who are working tirelessly during the coronavirus pandemic.
He made this suggestion while highlighting the categories of health workers eligible for the incentives and went on to urge those without TIN to get their numbers.
“There are still some employees who don’t have TIN numbers. We would encourage them. In fact, we insist that you should have TIN number because currently we have also put together a system that allows you to be able to get TIN number in a very short time,” he said.
Rev. Owusu-Amoah also indicated that an online platform as well as a WhatsApp platform have been structured to assist people in getting their TIN within an hour of applying for it.
According to him, there are a number of agencies involved in the implementation of this particular incentive. He listed the Ministry of Health, the Controlling Account-general as well as the Ghana Revenue Authority as the agencies involved in the implementation process.
He went on to identify the five who are eligible for the incentives allocated by government to be given to health workers as a motivation for their hard work during the pandemic.
He said, “these five categories include those who are directly working with the public sector as far as the health service is concerned and are payed through the Controller General. There are also those who have sub vented quasi government health services who also fall into this category. There’s also the staff of public health facilities who are paid through their internally generated funds. And then the fourth category are the staff of self-accounting government health facilities. Last but not the least we have the staff of private sector health facilities who are duly registered under the ministry of health.”
He emphasized that though the employees of all these five categories of health workers qualify, it goes through the Ministry of Health then the Controller General who would have to ensure that the payrolls are prepared appropriately.
With incentives for the business sector, the GRA boss revealed that there are a number of steps or formality to go through. In this case, it was beyond the powers of the Commissioner General hence it needed to go through parliament. According to him, the process is done and his outfit aims to cascade it as effectively as possible.
He assured that various platforms from various media organizations will be made available to explain to the public, the opportunities that are there for them to take.
Speaking about donations made by organizations on the PM Express, he stated that the Authority needs to be notified and evidence must be presented that the donation was made then exemptions will be made on value added tax (VAT) on items as well as taking off national health insurance levy (NHIL) on the donation made.
He said, “what we require is the evidence that you have done the donation and so you’ll need to get recipients to acknowledge the fact that you have done the donation. And then we also require that you write to us and indicate the donation and how much you have done and then the type of items it covers.”
In the case of giving businesses amnesty, Rev. Owusu-Amoah stated that the Commissioner General has the power to waive penalties provided they are convinced per the documents or accounts presented.
He explained that the taxman needs to be proactive to and consider the possible reduction or increase in profitability or cost.
“If you are a taxman, it beholds on you to even be proactive and start evaluating these sectors and looking at their possible impact so that you don’t get surprised and think that they are going to pay me let’s say a hundred million when their volumes are always going down,” he admonished.
Meanwhile, he said to ensure that taxpayers are compliant, some measures have been put in place. An example he said, is rewarding a whistleblower an amount between GHS 25,000 and GHS 250,000 depending on the gravity of information provided.
He stated that since this incentive was introduced, there has been an increase in the number of whistleblowers and he encouraged the public to help them do more and apprehend culprits.
He further explained that the Authority does not just act but verifies the information since some people may simply do something out of spite.
“When someone whistle blows, you have to go through validation of the whistleblowing. You have to do an audit and then establish the validity of the information you have received. And then once you have finished, you will be able to then put a tax and the penalties and interests that you have to put on the tax payer,” he said.