Ghana Tax Amnesty Act 2017 - What You Need To Know

The Tax Amnesty Act 2017 is a limited-time Government pardon to eligible taxpayers- individuals and businesses- who have failed to register with the Commissioner-General, or file returns, or pay taxes as required by Law. The purpose of the Amnesty is to improve voluntary tax compliance, increase tax revenues, make fairer tax reforms possible due to an expanded tax base and accelerate economic growth

WHAT IS WAIVED:

The amnesty pardons eligible taxpayers on the following:

·       Tax on undeclared returns for previous years up to and including 2017 year of assessment

·       Penalties and interest on non- filed income tax returns, as well as unpaid, under-reported or unreported taxes.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE AMNESTY?

·       All persons who have not previously registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority or who have registered but have unreported or underreported tax debts

Does not include:

·       Persons who have already been assessed in respect to tax administered by the Commissioner- General.

·       Persons who are under tax compliance check, audit or investigation, unless that person fully discloses, declares and pays accrued tax liabilities before the end of the audit or investigation.

·       Persons who have been notified of or undergoing enforcement action, under unless that person makes immediate payment of taxes assessed or due.

WHAT IS THE AMNESTY PERIOD:

·       It will cover a period of 8 months from 1st January, 2018 to 31st August, 2018.

TAX PERIODS COVERED BY THE AMNESTY

The amnesty applies to tax liabilities for previous years up to and including 2017 year of assessment. Payments and returns due from January 01, 2018 are not included in the amnesty.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE AMNESTY

·       The taxpayer will not be subjected to further tax compliance checks, audit or investigation for the years 2017 and prior.

·       The amnesty eliminates the financial risk of not complying with the obligation to file and pay taxes

HOW TO OBTAIN THE BENEFITS OF THE AMNESTY

During the amnesty period, eligible taxpayers must submit a separate amnesty application and;

·       Previously unknown taxpayers must voluntarily register, file and fully pay income tax returns for 2014, 2015, 2016 years of assessment on or before September 30, 2018.

·       Known, but delinquent taxpayers must fully and voluntarily submit original or amended returns, in addition to all documentation, for unreported, underreported years of assessment on or before September 30, 2018.

WHEN TO APPLY FOR THE AMNESTY?

The application should be made as early as possible, before the August 31, 2018 deadline to allow for adequate time for processing of the amnesty.

What’s the difference between a quote and an estimate?

 Photo by Robert Lamb

Photo by Robert Lamb

The nature of some types of businesses make it challenging to come up with a standard price list. For tradespeople and some freelancers, for instance, what’s required in terms of time, skill, labour, and materials frequently vary from job to job.

Offering an estimate or quote provides potential clients with a customized figure for what they can expect to pay, based on what will be required to complete a specific project.

Read on to learn the difference between estimates and quotes, and tips on how to prepare them like a pro.

Quotes
A quote is a legally binding fixed price a company prepares for a client; as such, they should always be in writing. A quote should summarize the work to be performed and include a detailed breakdown of all the costs and the final total, including taxes.

Once a business offers a quote and a client signs off on it, the price cannot change even if the job ends up costing more than originally anticipated. For this reason it’s important to always quote as accurately as possible, allowing ample time to complete the job and carefully pricing out costs for materials and labour (e.g. subcontractors).

To protect your business from “scope creep”, a quote should also stipulate that additional charges for extra work beyond what the initial quote covers will apply.

Estimates
Unlike a quote, an estimate isn’t legally binding and it isn’t a guarantee of what the actual work will cost. Still, it’s recommended that estimates also be provided in writing. An estimate is offered as a ballpark figure, based on the information available about a project at that moment in time. As such, it’s understood that the estimate is subject to an increase or decrease once the work begins.

Companies should take just as much care when providing an estimate as they would when drafting a quote. Ideally, an estimate should provide a number within roughly 20 per cent of the final price. It’s good practice for businesses to provide more than one estimate, to offer a range of options at different price points.

Tips for costing out jobs
For small businesses, it’s important to appear as professional as your larger competitors whenever you communicate with clients, but especially when negotiating the details of a potential project.

Be sure when you’re preparing your quote or estimate that you include the following information:

  • your business number
  • business contact info (phone, email, address)
  • a detailed summary of the work to be performed
  • a breakdown of costs (subcontractors, materials, time and hourly cost for labour)
  • the total cost
  • a timeline for the work and completion date
  • contract terms, including deposit and payment schedule

Another important bit of information to provide your clients when the quote or estimate expires. Many companies choose an expiry date of 30 days, to protect themselves from the possibility of rising costs for materials or other factors that may influence the cost of the job.

It’s worth repeating that you should always take care to state clearly in writing the terms of your quote or estimate, and offer a client the opportunity to ask questions before approving the work.

That way, both parties can avoid any misunderstandings about expectations and project costs before the work begins.

3 Advantages of Digital Signing for Businesses

Digital signing, versus the traditional "wet" signature, has become increasingly popular in recent years.  More and more countries across the globe have endorsed the legal validity of digital signing, enabling businesses to digitize entire workflows and further optimize management processes.

Whether you're preparing an employee work agreement, finalizing a new client contract, or submitting an invoice, digital signing can prove beneficial in a number of ways.

Here are just three reasons businesses, organizations, and even governments choose digital signing over paper.

1. Save time and courier costs

Ensuring all parties sign off on paper documents typically entails a number of time-consuming and potentially expensive steps.

First, you must prepare the document, courier it to each recipient, and then wait for them to receive, review, and sign it.  One of your recipients may be out of town, or home with the flu, which further lengthens your wait time.  Finally, after review, a recipient may request some changes, which means re-working and re-delivering the document. The resulting delays can be both costly and frustrating.

With digital signing, documents are swiftly delivered, revised and authenticated online. Transit time is minimal, so business owners can direct their energies toward earning new customers, rather than handling more paperwork.  And of course, adopting a paperless solution immediately reduces your environmental impact – an important benefit for entrepreneurs seeking more sustainable business practices – not to mention, lowers your office supply costs.

2. Safeguard your documents with digital encryption

In addition to improved efficiency, digital signing beats paper when it comes to security.  The digital signing software you use to create the signature will ensure it is encrypted, which protects your entire document from tampering.

According to the experts at Tech-Target, digital signature encryption will let you know if a single character of your document is changed or deleted.  Plus, since encryption leaves a data trail which makes it possible to trace and expose any forgeries.  By the same token, if a signee denies having authenticated your document, the signature can be analyzed to confirm its origin.

3. Track the status of your document in real time

Wondering whether the contract you sent to a new client has been opened and reviewed, or signed and sent back? Digital signing makes answering these questions far easier than the paper alternative.

From creation and distribution, to editing, validation, and storage – the entire document lifecycle is digitized and transparent.  Using cloud-based digital signing, business owners can track the status of their documents in real time, including:

  • when the document was opened;
  • how close the signee is to completing their validation of the document; and
  • the moment the validation is complete, or if a party opts out of the process.

Some service providers also include options to send out automatic reminders to ensure the timely completion of your agreements.

From saving time, money, and trees, to improving collaboration with team members and clients, it's no wonder digital signing is fast becoming the new business normal.