The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has impounded three container trucks for carrying more than 13,000 packs of assorted drinks without tax stamps.
The consignments, confiscated on June 29 according to the Head of Excise Unit at GRA – Kwabena Apau, were supposed to have the stamps affixed to each bottle of drink.
“Our intelligence and ground-work have revealed that more of these large trucks are still perpetuating the crime of evading tax through non-adherence to the tax stamp policy on the goods they carry,” Mr. Apau noted.
He said investigations are still ongoing to give full disclosure of those involved, as the GRA is ready to ensure that the right penalties are paid and prosecution effected when it becomes necessary.
“An examination team by the Authority will later estimate how much is lost in tax value to the state, and how much penalties and levies the state must impose to recover revenue from these evasions,” Mr. Apau added.
Meanwhile, during the exercise some stolen tax stamps were discovered circulating in the system; a phenomenon the GRA has vowed to clamp down on.
The B&FT observed that more than 500 packs of assorted soda and fizzy drinks were impounded at the GRA’s VAT House which were affixed with stolen tax stamps.
“What’s happening is that some businesses are diverting tax stamps to be fixed on goods brought in by third-party businesses, and information on such stamps do not reflect the business-name of the third party business,” Mr. Apau explained.
Government implemented the tax stamp policy in January 2018 following a launch announcement in August 2017. The policy was implemented to deter the public from trading unapproved excisable products. Through this policy, beverages that do not have the tax stamp are not to be patronized by the public and must be removed from the Ghanaian market.
Additionally, manufacturers and traders who deal in items that do not bear the tax stamps are to face appropriate sanctions, according to the GRA.
This year, the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act, 2023 (Act 1093), which increases the excise duty for cigarettes and tobacco products, wine, malt drinks and spirits, also introduces an excise duty on sweetened beverages and electronic cigarette liquids, electronic cigarettes and electronic smoking devices.
All these products, according to the new regulation, must have tax stamps affixed to them.
This year, the GRA has set a revenue target of GH¢106billion – of which the Customs Division is expected to collect some GH¢28.5billion.