Do you know that, at some point, you’ll need a tax clearance certificate to carry out certain transactions?

Don’t leave it too late! To avoid the hassle of getting a Tax Clearance Certificate when you need it, prepare well ahead of time.

So, what do you need to do to prepare? Read on to find out:

What is a Tax Clearance Certificate?

A Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) confirms that you are up to date on your taxes at the date of issue. It is issued by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

When is a TCC Required?

The Income Tax Act states that you must provide a valid Tax Clearance Certificate to complete the following transactions:

  1. To clear goods in commercial quantities or goods meant for commercial purposes from a port or a factory in Ghana.
  2. To apply for a license to operate as a custom clearing and forwarding agency, as stipulated under the Excise Act, 2014.
  3. To register a title to land – the Lands Commission requires a TCC.
  4. To bid for a contract to provide services awarded by Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other government entities.
  5. To enable members of professional bodies to renew their license.

Beyond the transactions listed above, some other situations where you may be asked to provide a Tax Clearance Certificate are:

  • Receiving a visa – some Embassies in Ghana might require you to produce a TCC to validate the income you declared in your visa application.
  • Residence and work permits – to renew a residence or work permit, an expatriate must present a TCC to support their application for a residence and work permit.
  • Authorized supplier list – some businesses, private or government, may require a TCC to make their authorized supplier list.

How Do I Apply?

The application process is relatively straightforward:

  1. To apply – send an application letter stating the purpose for which the Tax Clearance Certificate is required to your tax office.
  2. Apply ahead of time – unfortunately, the administrative procedures of the GRA, can cause delay.
  3. Be prepared – your TCC application may be delayed or rejected because your taxes are not in order. To avoid delays and rejections, ensure that at the time of your application, you have done the following:
  1. filed all tax returns, including financial statements up to and including the last year of assessment;
  2. addressed all audit and other queries from the tax office;
  3. paid all taxes, interests and penalties due, or made satisfactory arrangements to discharge this obligation.

A Tax Clearance Certificate is normally valid for a period of 3 months. Where you’ve not met some of the requirements, at GRA’s discretion, you may be issued a TCC that’s valid for less than 3 months. If you are tax compliant the TCC should be issued within a maximum of 72 hours (3 working days).

So, do you want to avoid the hassle of getting a Tax Clearance Certificate? Follow the steps outlined above to overcome the obstacles and minimise stress. And if you’re not sure what to do, consult a tax advisor.

Written by Tom Asaam

Tom is the manager in the tax department of SCG Chartered Accountants.

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