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Currently, IBMC specialize in providing multifaceted business advisory services in areas such as; Tax Advisory, Audit & Assurance Services, Accounting & Payroll Management, Business Planning & Proposal Development, Financial Engineering, Project Management,Monitoring & Evaluation, Market Research & Feasibility Studies, International Market Representation, Corporate Training, recruitment, Company
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TAX AUDIT OF YOUR BUSINESS
What do you do when you receive that dreaded call that Ghana Revenue Authority officials will be undertaking an audit of your business? Do you close down your business, shave your head and disappear to the mountains to live the rest of your life as a monk? Absolutely not! A tax audit is an unavoidable component of your business life. So don’t panic. Tax audits have become more frequent as GRA tries to meet ambitious revenue targets set by the government. A tax audit will be focused on three main issues: whether you have filed returns for the tax obligations you are registered for, if you have underpaid tax and if you have under-reported your business income.
First, being selected for a tax audit is not a bad thing. It’s an indication that your business is doing well. The tax man will rarely audit a loss-making, struggling business unless there is suspicion of tax evasion. So for your business to be selected for an audit, it must be a healthy business and the taxman just wants to confirm that you have made the correct tax payments as required by law.
The other thing that business people are not aware of is that you can invite the tax authority officials to come to your business and carry out an audit. This is necessary when you have overpaid tax and you need to claim a refund. The refund will not be authorized until the taxman carries out an audit to verify that indeed the tax over-payment is valid. Since the overpaid tax may be causing cash-flow challenges, it is in your best interest as a business person to have the tax audit carried out as soon as possible and your tax refund processed.
Below are a few tips that you can follow as you prepare for a tax audit:
* Keep proper books of account-
It is absolutely necessary for a business person to ensure that proper books of accounts are maintained. Simply put, business records should be maintained in such a way that you can support the income earned by the business and the expenses incurred. This will include copies of invoices issued as well as receipts for payments done. Tax returns for the year under review will also be required, so have them at hand.
Audits are normally carried out on previous year’s records and thus a proper document management system will be of help since you need to retrieve actual hard copy documents.
* Schedule the audit process at least a month later –
When you get a notification for the audit, it is unlikely that the auditors will come in the next day.
* Schedule the audit process to commence at least 4 weeks later. This buys you time to put your records in order. The taxman will inform you of the area the audit will focus on. In Ghana, VAT, PAYE, Excise Tax and Income tax are frequently audited areas. Take the four weeks to ensure that all records are readily available for scrutiny.
As you schedule the time, take note of the business cycles and have the audit when your business is in its low season. It might be a challenge to assign adequate resources and time to the audit when your business is in its peak season. The taxman is not there to punish you so an appropriate time can be agreed upon.
* Set aside time to meet the auditors –
Sometimes business owners try to delay the audit process by frequently postponing the start date or claiming to be too busy to meet the auditor or respond to queries. This does not portray the business in good light and the tax auditors may assume that you are hiding something hence scrutinizing the business more. A tax audit is a serious issue and a business leader should set aside time to respond to the auditor queries. If the business owner is not available, then a senior member of the management team needs to be readily available to offer clarity to the auditors.
It is important to note that lack of clarity will end up in penalties. The business owner should be seen to be transparent by providing the required documents and clarifying any matters as required.
* Engage a qualified and experienced tax consultant.
If you do not have any finance or accounting background, you may be unable to respond appropriately to some tax queries. Some terminologies might also be foreign to you and you may be unable to provide the required supporting documentation. It is advisable to retain the services of a professional consultant during the preparation and throughout the audit period. The consultant will be better placed to help you provide the required documentation and respond to any queries that the auditors may raise.
Tax consultants can also carry out a Tax health-check. This is an audit requested by the business owner to confirm that the business is in compliance with different tax obligations. Tax consultants will help the business owner discover areas that need to be improved on. If some taxes haven’t been paid, the health check will highlight this issue and timely corrective measures can be taken.
* Propose a payment plan –
Sometimes the tax audit takes place and the taxman discovers that you have not paid all the taxes. The taxman will issue a report showing you how much you need to pay inclusive of penalties and interest. Sometimes the business owner may not be in a position to pay the money immediately. You are allowed to negotiate with the tax authority a payment plan that enables you to stagger the payments over a period of time. This is a favorable arrangement that does not force the business into a cash flow crisis.
As long as you adhere to the payment plan, the revenue authority can issue you with a Tax Clearance Certificate even when you are yet to clear the payment.
The tax audit will not be favorable to the business in the three instances noted below:
* The income reported differs from the deposits in the bank account and a proper reconciliation is not availed.
*Total revenue/sales amount is not supported by the Vat returns for the period.
* The salaries and bonuses are not supported by the PAYE returns for the period.
If you are in business you should expect a tax audit sooner or later. Start complying with the tax regulations early and you will have nothing to fear when the taxman comes calling.
E. D Lomo
International Business Management Consult
[11/01/18] Have a sparkling Diwali
International Business Management Consult
Don't wait for the Ghana Revenue Authority to prosecute your company for TAX default. Come to IBMC let's help you take advantage of the Ghana Tax Amnesty Bill passed.
modernghana.com The Government of Ghana is to grant a tax amnesty for a period of eight months, beginning January 31, 2017 and ending August 31, 2018. After the amnesty per...
TIPS FOR MANAGEMENT BEFORE MEETING CLIENTS:
* Be clear on the purpose of your meeting.
* Set the agenda or request for the agenda from the client
* Request to know those going to be in attendance
* Be sure to know the duration of the meeting: say 1/ 2 hours.
* Know your expectations and that of your client by close of the meeting.
linkedin.com Why entrepreneurs must never give up As an entrepreneur, and owner of a startup; you’ll be faced with many compelling challenges to quit running your
International Business Management Consult
What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur
It’s not as easy as am saying it here in practice, because you got to be aware of the things you must know before you start your own business. Either way, these things will just make you stand firm and know if you really really want to do this business all by yourself. It simply means that, you have to be;
Step 1 BE PASSIONATE
If you’re going to start your own business from the scratch, then you must be someone who loves what you do. You must love your product, or service your business is going to sell. Be ready to think about it morning, afternoon, evening, night and even in your dreams. That’s exactly what I did when starting my own business and this has equally worked for other business owners I interacted with. But let me warn you that, doing your own business is not all just about passion. You’re working to make money and to create something out of nothing. The owner of a company I once worked with told me: “Enoch, we’re working for money, so don’t forget to ask the clients about the fee payment when you get there; try to remind them from time to time”. So while you're being passionate, remember what you're working for.
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