Too many tax avoidance schemes in Africa


26 July 2013

There are too many tax avoidance schemes being pursued by taxpayers in Africa, with Value Added Tax (VAT) being the most vulnerable, Anthony Ewereko Minlah, Commissioner of the Support Services Division at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has observed.

“Across Africa, there is low willingness to pay tax by taxpayers and therefore there are always attempts by corporate bodies and individuals to either evade or avoid the payment of tax, and VAT is the most vulnerable,” Mr. Minlah told 35 tax auditors from 11 African countries at the opening ceremony of the African Tax Administrators Forum (ATAF) in Accra.


The event, which is being held on the topic “Auditing in VAT Systems”, aims to expand the current knowledge of participants on how to detect and deter non-compliant taxpayers by carrying out effective, efficient and quality risk-based audits on VAT systems, as well as improving the efficacy of the tax legislation and administrations among African nations. Mr. Minlah observed that it is unfortunate that voluntary tax compliance rates in Africa continue to be among the lowest in the world.

“Our challenges as tax administrators in Africa are many. We all know it is not easy to build effective systems in Africa, but at the same instance we need the tax income for development,” he said.

“We believe that with greater support from our taxpayers we can do more. Our taxpayers must cultivate the culture of voluntary compliance to ensure improved revenue. The GRA for the past three years exceeded its revenue targets due to great support from the government and our development partners, like German Agency for International Cooperation, Ghanaian Community Network, and some good corporate bodies.”


ATAF was set up in 2009 to promote and facilitate mutual cooperation among African tax administrations and other relevant and interested stakeholders. The forum brings together heads of African tax administrations and their representatives to discuss the progress made, challenges faced, and possible new direction for African tax policy and administration in the 21st century.


Source: Business and Financial Times