March 21, 2018

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) can now track financial accounts of certain entities or individuals both home and abroad in the Nation’s quest to curb tax invasion as Parliament has given legal authorisation to that effect.

The passage of the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2017 into law by Parliament will enable the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) exchange information with other tax administrations in the world, regarding certain financial accounts of entities or individuals.

The new legislation imposes on financial institutions an obligation to report information regarding the financial accounts of reportable individuals or entities to the Ghana Revenue Authority and conduct due diligence with respect to the accounts.

A Deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Kwarteng who moved a motion for the passage, said one critical requirement to the fight against tax evasion is cooperation among tax administrations and the exchange of information as a key aspect of that cooperation.

A memorandum accompanying the bill before its passage into law observed that the new global standard has led to the development of model of automatic exchange of financial account information referred to as the Common Reporting Standard which allows jurisdictions to automatically exchange financial account information with their exchange partners.

The new law provide a legal framework for the implementation of the Common Reporting Standard approved by the Council of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on July 15, 2014.

It is the outcome of a global effort in combating offshore tax evasion and in improving transparency through the development of a platform multilateral exchange of information.

Additionally, the law seeks to implement the common reporting standards approved by Council of the OECD, which designates the Commissioner General as the competent authority to ensure an improved international tax compliance by imposing on financial institutions an obligation to report information regarding certain financial accounts of an individual or an entity to the GRA.

Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah who seconded the motion and presented his Committee’s report later in an interview with, explained the rationale behind the bill.

“So, now, if l hold an account in the US, by passing this one for exchange of information, we can write to tax authorities in the US to furnish us with the account details of this Ghanaian.

In the same way, by passing this, if there is a foreigner who has an account here and the foreign authorities want to find out they could also write to the authorities. So, if you have concealed any information anywhere or if you are supposed to be paying taxes and then we can’t identify your financial status, it then makes it important to pass this bill,” he said.

The new law will also address the issue of vast amounts of monies that are kept offshore and go untaxed to the extent that taxpayers fail to comply with tax obligations in their home jurisdiction.

By Christian Kpesese/