A study conducted by Residential Occupancy and Property Tax Arrears has revealed that only 20% of property owners in Accra pay property tax regularly.
The remaining 80% either do not pay at all or do not pay on-time.
Out of the 80% who renege on their annual payments, 30% of these owners owe the government a decade’s worth of taxes.
At a policy workshop to introduce and discuss findings from the research with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) in Accra, the researchers noted that the AMA has the potential to generate substantial revenue from property rate tax if it implements the research findings effectively.
Dr Wilfred Anim-Odame, one of the researchers and Senior Technical Advisor at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), urged the assembly to take advantage of technology to improve upon its revenue generations.
“I must be able to use my mobile phone to pay for my property rate. In some countries, like Namibia, property rate payments have been tied to other utility payments such as water and electricity. This means the rates are paid on a monthly basis as compared to the annual payment in Ghana. The AMA should look at other best practices to see which one best suit us,” he said.
The CEO of the Lands Commission Dr Anim-Odame who added his voice said that the findings of the research are very critical for AMA in their effort to mobilise revenue for infrastructural development.
“The summary of this research point to the fact that the AMA can do better if they look at the three categories of occupancy we have in Accra. We have owner-occupied properties, tenant-occupied properties, and owner-tenant occupied properties. For each of these three categories, we have given them specific findings which will aid AMA to mobilise more revenue,” he said.
He then urged the AMA to take advantage of the digital era and transform its dealings unto an electronic payment system where individuals who could not go to the various offices of the AMA could still pay their taxes by electronic means.
The findings of the research included targeted reforms for specific population groups to sustain and improve long-term compliance, stricter enforcement policies and payment-friendly interventions, equitable distribution of amenities, uniformity and fairness in property rate changes, and tax rate increments should be aligned to GDP growth rather than plugging shortfalls.
Credit: Business Finder