The Center for Constitutional Order (CENCORD), has taken a swipe at the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, for not complying with the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915).
CENCORD is a legal think tank for ensuring constitutional order.
In the view of the Center, no nation develops its people and no people have developed without a potent administration of tax laws and its collection. To them, the Chief Justice and her office, is aiding tax evasion by not complying with the law.
A letter intercepted by The Herald which was signed by the Center’s Executive Director, Solomon Osei Fosu, states that, for the past one year after coming into force of the Revenue Administration Act (Act 915), the Chief Justice, has failed to give the required directive for the implementation of the law.
The sorrowful sight of the failure is that, the Chief Justice is one of the only four persons in Ghana, who has in her custody the master copy of the law.
Within the meaning of section 5 subsection 9 of the Interpretation Act, 2009, (Act 792), the C.J. received an original copy of the Act long before the law even came into force on January 1, 2017. The date of Gazette notification was August 10, 2016.
The Revenue Administration Act, provides for the administration and collection of revenue by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and for related matters.
It requires that every taxpayer, must have Tax Identification Number (TIN) failure of which the person cannot file cases in the courts of the land, open bank account, register land in his name, renew his professional licence, among others.
The Center cites section 11 (2) and paragraph (2), sub-paragraphs 8 and 9 and states further that, these provisions have not seen the implementation due to the absence of a directive to that effect from the Chief Justice.
It is provided in section 11 (2) of Act 915 that:
‘Except where otherwise directed by the Commissioner-General in writing, an institution specified in the First Schedule shall request for
a) a Taxpayer Identification Number from a person who conducts official business with that institution; or
b) a Tax Clearance Certificate from a person applying for the matters or engaged in the transactions listed in column two of Part II of the First Schedule’.
It is further provided under paragraph 2, sub-paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Act thus:
“A person shall not be permitted …
(8) to file a case with the courts, or
(9) conduct any official business with the institutions and persons specified in paragraph I unless that person quotes the Tax Identification Number issued in respect of that person under the System.”
CENCORD’s letter to the Chief Justice, revealed that the Center carried out an independent monitoring and evaluation process of the compliance of the relevant sections of Act 915 by the Courts around the country between September 1, to December 1, 2017.
It sad that, about One Thousand Five Hundred (1,500) Filed Court Processes during the period, were reviewed.
At least Fifty (50) Court Registrars, were engaged on this subject matter. It was the case that no lawyer and or their litigants before the Courts indicated their Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) on their Filed Court’s Processes.
It revealed that, the registrars of the Courts, have equally abdicated their statutory duty of requesting for TIN, before accepting processes of court and file same.
Solomon Osei Fosu, in an interview by The Herald, he said that the law has been ignored and the country losing a lot of money.
He explained that, the new law requires TIN from any person who files a case with the courts.
This also goes for their lawyers, however, the lack of knowledge of the law by the court registrars’ to request for the said TIN, is denying the country the needed revenue.
Mr. Osei Fosu, advised that the appropriate persons to see to the implementation of the law, must act quickly to avoid further violation.
He concluded that, “we must all ensure that our laws work”.