Arrest and prosecute tax-evading lawyers, stop pampering them – Asare

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Private legal practitioner, Professor Kwaku Asare has asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame to arrest and prosecute lawyers who have been found to have evaded taxes.

He asked the President and the Attorney General to stop warning or advising the lawyers to desist from their action and make them to face the law.

President Akufo-Addo criticized lawyers for tax evasion on Monday, 13th September 2021, in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region, when he delivered the keynote address at the 2021 Bar Conference of the Ghana Bar Association.

With the theme of the Conference being “Ensuring an Increase in Revenue Mobilization through Taxation for the Purpose of Accelerated National Development”, President Akufo-Addo urged the outgoing President of the Bar, Anthony Forson Jnr, to start from getting members of the Bar to pay their taxes.

“The record of lawyers in paying taxes has been historically poor. It is unfortunate, but a most unpleasant fact, that members of the professions in our country have not been known to set a good example when it comes to paying taxes.

“They appear to think that being members of the learned professions put them above complying with every day civic duties, like paying taxes. It is embarrassing that lawyers are often at the top of the list of those who flout our tax laws, and use their expertise to avoid paying taxes,” he stressed.

The president made the comment on the back of a recent exposé by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to the effect that some sixty thousand (60,000) professionals working in the country, including lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers, surveyors, architects, do not pay taxes, the President was hopeful that persons evading taxes move swiftly to regularise their tax affairs before the GRA moves to crack the whip.

Commenting on this in a Facebook post, Professor Asare said “If lawyers, or other professionals, are not paying taxes, arrest and prosecute them.

“Appealing to or warning them will not make any difference. Writing a new tax law will not make any difference. We make simple things too complicated.”