GRA extends annual tax returns deadlines in the face of COVID-19

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has extended the deadlines for the filing and payment of annual taxes. This is part of measures presented by the Minister of Finance in a statement to parliament on the Economic Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ghana’s economy on 30th March, 2020. These fiscal measures are to prevent the spread of the virus as well as protect tax payers in their bid to satisfy their tax obligations.

The measures include the following:

  1. Extension of deadline for annual returns: The deadline for the filing of annual returns has been extended from 4 months to 6 months at the end of a business’ financial year. For instance, if your financial year ends in December, you have 6 months to file your returns, so now you will have to file not later than 30th June.
  2. Extension of Annual tax payment month: Corporate income taxes for last year are supposed to be paid by April, 2020. This has been extended to June, 2020, allowing businesses some time to prepare for their payments.
  3. Waiver of penalties/interests: GRA is also waiving all penalties/interests on outstanding debts if payments are made by 30th June, 2020. This is to encourage cash payments to the statutory body,which is likely to see a significant drop in tax payments in the coming months as a result of the outbreak.
  4. Suspension of field audits: All field auditing of tax payers has been suspended up to the end of April, 2020 except for special cases.
  5. Waiver of VAT on donations of stock of equipment and goods for fighting the COVID19 pandemic: There won’t be charges of VAT on items that are procured for the purposes of donations towards prescribed institutions and funds fighting against the pandemic. Moreover, such donations will be permitted to be treated as allowable expenses for tax purposes
  6. Waiver of taxes on selected tier-3 pension withdrawals: Traditionally, in Tier3, formal sector employees may access their benefit after 10 years to avoid paying taxes, while informal sector employees may access their benefit after 5 years. However, there is going to be changes to this to allow contributors/employees to do early withdrawals without tax charges.

However, the following is unaffected by the new announcements by GRA:

Monthly filing of returns: All monthly filing, including Income tax (PAYE), Withholding taxes, Value Added Tax (VAT) are to be made on their due dates. That is, PAYE and Withholding no later than 15th of each month and VAT by the last working day of each month.

Lastly, GRA encourages the payment of taxes using SWIFT Transfers. You should contact your local tax office for the SWIFT Transfer details.

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