A BRIEF GUIDE FOR THE VAT/NHIL REGISTERED PERSON ON THE KEEPING OF RECORDS AND ACCOUNTS

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1 A BRIEF GUIDE FOR THE VAT/NHIL REGISTERED PERSON ON THE KEEPING OF RECORDS AND ACCOUNTS If you are registered for the Value Added Tax (VAT), you are obliged to charge and account for both VAT and the National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) at the same time. You must keep records of all the supplies you make and receive, as well as a summary of VAT/NHIL paid or charged for each tax period covered by your VAT/NHIL returns. The summary is called a VAT/NHIL account and is useful for meeting your obligations under the law. This booklet tells you about these records and how to keep them. (1) Does everyone have to keep the same records? No, every one does not have to keep the same records. There are however a number of records which are fundamental and therefore similar for all VAT-registered businesses. You can probably adapt your present records to include the VAT and NHIL requirements. The most basic record you need to keep is the TAX INVOICE (VAT/NHIL INVOICE) but other business records may also be kept to enable you account for VAT/NHIL at the end of each month. (2) What is a Tax Invoice? Whenever you supply taxable goods or services to another person, you must give him a document showing certain information about what you are supplying. This document is called a tax invoice and must be furnished at the time of the supply. It is available in the form of a VAT/NHIL invoice, available for sale at all VAT Service offices throughout the country, other than the Head office. Most businesses in Ghana already issue invoices and other forms of receipts as normal business routine. Registered businesses are however required to issue the Commissioner s VAT/NHIL invoice for their taxable supplies. The Commissioner may authorise some registered businesses to issue their own computer-generated invoices on application, subject to certain specified conditions. Such own computergenerated invoices must conform to the details of a tax invoice as specified in the VAT laws (S.19 of Act 546 and Reg. 19 of LI. 1646). Some other businesses may be authorised by the Commissioner to operate the special retail scheme, in which case they will be entitled to issue special (approved) retail or cash register receipts for taxable supplies made. Such persons are however obliged to issue the Commissioner s VAT/NHIL invoice at the request of a customer who is also registered for VAT. (3) Why are Tax Invoices Important? If your customer is registered for VAT, he may be able to get back as input tax, the tax (i.e. VAT/NHIL) you have charged him. All registered businesses can re-claim the VAT/NHIL paid on taxable purchases and expenses, provided they are used to make taxable sales. However, your customer and other firms can only reclaim the tax if they have a valid tax invoice to support the transaction S. 24 (1b). In the same way, you can only get back the VAT/NHIL you have been charged by your suppliers if you have tax invoices from them. The only valid invoice for input tax claim is the Commissioner s VAT/NHIL, or an approved own computer-generated tax invoice. 1

2 Furthermore a VAT/NHIL invoice must be issued as evidence that the tax has been charged on the supply. You must keep all VAT/NHIL invoices that you receive from your suppliers and copies of all VAT/NHIL invoices that you issue to your customers as part of your business records/documents. For further information on Input and Output Tax, refer to Public Notice 5 (PN5 The Ins and Out of VAT/NHIL). (4) Only a Registered Person can issue a Tax Invoice. You should have no problem finding out from your suppliers whether they are registered to charge VAT/NHIL. Their VAT Certificate of Registration must be conspicuously displayed at their principal place of business. (5) What must a VAT/NHIL Invoice show? When you issue a VAT/NHIL invoice, it must be serially numbered and issued in that serial, chronological or numerical order. The invoice must also include the following information Reg. 19 (2). a) Your name, address and VAT registration number. b) The date on which the invoice was issued. c) The date of the supply if this is different from (b) above. d) The name, address and VAT registration number, if any, of the person to whom you make the supply. e) The description, quantity and price of the goods or services being supplied. f) The taxable value of the goods or services if different from the price charged. g) The VAT and NHIL charged on the goods/services supplied. You will find examples of how you could make out VAT/NHIL invoices at the end of this booklet (see Appendix A) (6) What about Cash Sales of Goods from Retail Premises? If you make only cash sales from retail premises the Commissioner may authorize you to operate the Special Retail Scheme (i.e. issue a special retail sales receipt) in place of the VAT/NHIL invoice on application Reg. 33. However, you must comply with the following conditions as stated in the law Reg. 30. a) Record the value and brief details of each supply as it occurs and before your customers leave the business premises. 2

3 b) Keep a cash register, book or other suitable record at each point of sale in which you must enter details of all cash received and cash payments made at the time that they occur. c) At the end of each day, record totals of money received from sales, money paid out for purchases and expenses and the balance. d) You must then enter as a separate total the output tax chargeable on supplies made (i.e. the VAT/NHIL content of total money received). The total input tax shown on tax invoices in respect of purchases should also be entered in the record. e) In the final step deduct the total input tax from the output tax at the end of each month and pay the difference to the VAT Service. NOTE: A VAT-registered person authorised to operate the special retail scheme is obliged to issue the Commissioner s VAT/NHIL invoice at the request of a customer who is also registered for VAT. (7) What does the Time of Supply Mean? This is the time when a supply for goods or services is treated as having taken place. It is called the tax point and establishes the time for accounting for VAT/NHIL in the business records. (8) How do I Work Out the Tax Point? VAT/NHIL becomes due and is payable when; you supply the goods or services to the purchaser; or you issue an invoice in respect of the supply; or you receive payment for all or part of the supply; whichever occurs earliest. There are however some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you make supplies on a continuous basis or by way of a meter (e.g. electricity), the tax becomes chargeable with effect from the date of the first determination of the supply or the first meter reading and subsequently the tax will become due and payable at the time of each determination or meter reading. To issue a tax invoice means that you must send or give it to your customer. It is not enough simply to have prepared it. (9) What about Imports and Goods removed from Warehouse? VAT/NHIL is payable at the time you enter the goods at importation or remove them from a customs warehouse. To claim the input VAT/NHIL related to imports or removals from a customs warehouse, you must have official evidence in the form of: 3

4 i) A copy of the customs import entry documents and evidence of payment of the relevant import VAT/NHIL, or ii) A warehouse document and evidence that VAT/NHIL has been paid on the items removed. The customs entry documents may still be relevant in this case. You must show the VAT/NHIL claimed as a separate total in your purchase record. (10) What Records must I keep? You must keep the following basic records: a) A record of all taxable goods and services that you receive as part of your business purchases. b) A record of all taxable goods and services that you supply as part of your business sales. This also includes zero-rated and relief supplies. c) A record of any exempt supplies that you make. You should be able to use or adapt your normal business records for VAT/NHIL purposes. They must however show the proper tax due and how the figures are determined. The records must be complete and kept up to date. The figures that you have used to complete your VAT/NHIL return must be easy to identify from these records. Periodically, a VAT Service Control/Verification (C/V) officer will visit your premises to inspect these records. The records that must be kept and produced to a VAT Service officer on a C/V visit include: a) Copies of all invoices issued, in serial number order. b) Copies of all credit and debit notes issued, in chronological order. c) All purchases invoices, copies of customs entries, receipts for payment of customs duty and VAT/NHIL as well as credit and debit notes received. These must be filed chronologically, either by date of receipt or under each supplier s name. d) Details of the amount of VAT/NHIL charged on each supply made or received. e) Totals of the output tax and the input tax in each period and the net total of the tax payable or the tax credit/refund of tax due at the end of each month. f) Details of goods manufactured and delivered from the factory of the taxable person if (applicable). g) Details of each supply of goods and services from the business premises, unless such details are available at the time of supply on invoices issued at, or before, that time. 4

5 (11) If you give any goods away or take any goods from your stock for private use, including gifts, You must record: i. The type/nature of goods, (i.e. what the goods are.) ii. iii. iv. The date you took the goods from stock; The VAT/NHIL exclusive cost of the goods, (i.e. the taxable value of the goods.) The rate and amount of VAT/NHIL chargeable. Remember, if you issue a Credit Note to a customer for sales returns, the VAT/NHIL component of the Credit Note will reduce the amount of VAT/NHIL you have to account for as output tax. In the same way if you receive a Credit Note from a supplier, it will reduce the amount of input tax you can deduct. At the end of each tax period you must add up the input tax and output tax shown in the records and transfer it to your VAT/NHIL account. (12) Remember that if you are Deducting Input Tax: a) You must have a valid VAT/NHIL invoice or the relevant customs documents showing that you paid the VAT/NHIL b) The purchase must be made wholly and exclusively for your business and must be applied for your taxable supplies. (13) For how long must I keep my Records? You must keep all your business records for a minimum period of six years S. 29 (2). These records may include the following, in addition to the others earlier mentioned. (Ref. Reg. 37): a) Orders and delivery notes b) Relevant business correspondence c) Purchase and sales books d) Cash book, petty cash vouchers and other account books, including ledgers e) Records of daily takings such as till rolls f) Annual accounts, including Trading and Profits and Loss Accounts and Balance Sheet 5

6 g) Bank statements, paying-in-slips and cheque books h) Your VAT/NHIL account i) Any other documents which may be relevant to the computation of your tax liability. (14) What is a VAT/NHIL Account? A VAT/NHIL account is simply a summary of the totals of your output and input tax for each accounting period. The account will show the tax payable to the VAT Service, the credit to be carried forward or the refund due to you from the Service. You should add up the VAT/NHIL in your records and put the totals in your VAT/NHIL account with separate headings for: INPUT TAX ON: Purchases and expenses, Imports, errors in earlier returns (net of Purchases Returns). OUTPUT TAX ON: Sales and errors in earlier returns (net of Sales Returns) Do not forget to adjust your VAT Account for any Credit or Debit Notes issued to your customers or received from your suppliers. At the end of each accounting period, subtract your input tax from your output tax and record the difference. You may use the figures from your VAT/NHIL Account to fill in your VAT/NHIL Return. You will find an example of how you could keep a VAT/NHIL Account at the back of this booklet (see Appendix B). (15) Period for Filing Returns Your must send in your VAT/NHIL Return and any payment due, not later than the last working day of the month that follows the month covered by the return (S.28). Remember that where no sales and/or purchases have been made or recorded in an accounting period, you must still submit a return as NIL within the usual time period for submission of returns. (16) Using Computerized Records If you keep all or part of your records and accounts on a computer, you must make sure that you can account for VAT/NHIL properly and that VAT officers can carry out their normal periodic checks. It is important that you apply to your Local VAT Office for the Commissioner s authorization to keep your VAT/NHIL records in a computerized form Reg. 37(2). (17) Visits by VAT Service Officers 6

7 From time to time VAT Service officers will arrange to come and visit you at your place of business. They will give you any help you may need and will also examine your business records, premises and merchandise, so please remember to have all of them easily available. (18) What IF. Q. I cancel or spoil a serially numbered tax invoice? A. Do not destroy it. Just keep all copies of it in sequence for the VAT officers to inspect on their next visit. Q. My records are lost, stolen or destroyed? A. You should inform your Local VAT office immediately. Q. I record details of my sales invoice when my customers pay me. Can I sue this record to work out my output tax? A. No, you can only use such a cash basis to account for VAT/NHIL if permitted by the Commissioner. These records may be relevant but you must record details of your sales invoices in the order that you issue them. You must account for the VAT/NHIL at the date of the tax point even though your customer may not have paid you. Q. I keep copies of my VAT/NHIL Returns. Can I use them as my VAT/NHIL account? A. No, the VAT/NHIL account has to be a separate record. Q. I have not paid for some of my purchases when my VAT/NHIL return is due. Can I still deduct the VAT/NHIL? A. Yes, provided you have valid tax invoices which show tax point dates before the end of the period covered by the return. Q. I receive a PRO-FORMA INVOICE from my supplier showing full details of the cost, the terms and VAT/NHIL. Can I deduct the VAT/NHIL on my next return? A. No, a pro-forma invoice is not a valid tax invoice. You can only deduct the tax when you get an actual VAT/NHIL invoice. Q. I lose the original VAT/NHIL invoice but have the details on a statement from my supplier. Can I deduct the VAT/NHIL? 7

8 A. No, to deduct the VAT/NHIL, you must have a valid tax invoice. You should ask your supplier to provide you with a copy of the VAT/NHIL invoice, which should be clearly marked duplicate Q. I do not keep the required records; what may happen? A. If the Commissioner considers that you are not complying with the official requirements, or he considers that additional records should be kept, he will issue you with a notice requiring you to keep such records or take such action as he may specify. If you fail to comply with such notice you may be guilty of an offence under the VAT Act. Small booklets like this can only deal with VAT/NHIL issues in a general way. They cannot tell you all that you need to know about VAT/NHIL. Remember, if you cannot find the answer to your problems in the VAT/NHIL Public Notices, your local VAT Office is always ready to help. When in doubt contact your local VAT Office. 8

9 EXAMPLE OF A TAX INVOICE VAT & NHIL INVOICE From: Suiting & Coats Gh. Ltd P. O. Box GP Accra Main To: Nighties Silk Ltd P. O. Box X40000 Accra Supplier s TIN: Customer s TIN: 114s Date of Invoice: 14/01/2005 QTY DESCRIPTION UNIT PRICE (Excluding VAT & NHIL) Amount 10 pairs Leather gloves 20, , units Men s Suit 850,000 8,500, pairs Cuff links (gold-plated) 150, , (i) Total Amount (excluding VAT & NHIL) 9,450, (ii) VAT (12½%) 1,181, (iii) NHIL (½%) 256, (iv) TOTAL VAT + NHIL (ii + iii) 1,417, TOTAL AMOUNT PAYABLE (including VAT & NHIL) (i + iv) 10,867, Terms of Payment Cash Supplier s Signature 9

10 EXAMPLE OF A TAX INVOICE HOTELS, GUEST HOUSES, RESTAURANTS & SNACK BARS VAT & NHIL RECEIPT/INVOICE Received from The sum of XYZ Consult Fourteen million, four hundred and ninety thousand cedis In respect of Accommodation & meals for conference ITEM AMOUNT i Accommodation: Conference Room 2,000,000 ii Food: , ,000,000 iii Drinks: - - iv Others (specify): Secretarial Services 600, v SUB-TOTAL 12,600, vi VAT (12½%) 1,575,000 vii NHIL (2½%) 315,000 viii VAT+NHIL (vi + vii) 1,890, GRAND TOTAL (v + viii) 14,490,000 Supplier: TIN: High Class Hotel Ltd 215E Designation: Cashier Date : 14/01/2005 Signature 10

11 AN EXAMPLE OF VAT/NHIL ACCOUNT PERIOD FROM 1 ST JANUARY TO 31 ST JANUARY 2005 VAT/NHIL Deductible Input Tax VAT/NHIL Payable Output Tax Deductible VAT/NHIL charged on purchases and expenses. 50,000,000 VAT on Sales 72,000,000 Total VAT/NHIL payable to VAT Service. 22,000,000 TOTAL 72,000,000 TOTAL 72,000,000 WHERE TO GET HELP You can get more information about VAT/NHIL from the following VAT Offices: 1. VAT Head Office, Near IRS Head Office, Ministries Area P. O. Box 17177, Accra Tel: , Fax: , Kaneshie Industrial Area, Katenit Building, Accra Private Mail Bag 197, Accra North Tel: , Fax: Adabraka, NCR Building, Accra Primate Mail Bag, General Post Office Tel: , , Fax: Ringway Estate, Opposite Police Headquarters, Accra Private Mail Bag 63, Cantonments Accra Tel: , , , Tema, SSNIT Flats, (Comm. 5), Behind TTL Club Hse. P. O. Box CE 12391, Tema Tel: , Fax: Kumasi, SIC Building, Near Prempeh Assembly Hall VAT Service Private Mail Bag, Kumasi Tel: , 29457, Fax:

12 7. Takoradi, 2 nd Floor, SIC Building, Near Harbour Roundabout P. O. Box 615, Takoradi Tel: Fax: Koforidua, SSNIT Building (4 th Floor) P. O. Box 2034, Koforidua Tel: Fax: Cape Coast, 1 st Floor Municipal District Edu. Blk. Near Jubilee Sch. Buelah Lane P. O. Box CT 958, Cape Coast Tel: , 30469, Fax: Sunyani, Cocoa House (4 th Floor) P. O. Box 1745, Sunyani Tel: , Fax: Tamale, Near Police Headquarters, Towards Regional Administration Off. P. O. Box 530, Tamale Tel: , 22204, Fax: Ho, Light House, Big Market P. O. Box 134, Ho Tel: , Fax: Wa, SIC Building, Near Adonis Cinema P. O. Box 526, Wa Tel: , Fax: Bolga, SSNIT Building (Sacred Heart Catholic Church) P. O. Box 509, Bolga Tel: , Fax: Aflao, CEPS Complex P. O. Box 289, Aflao Tel: ,

13 The Full list of VAT Public Notices are as follows: Public Notice 1 (PN 1) - Why VAT & NHIL for Ghana? Public Notice 2 (PN 2) - Should I be Registered for VAT/NHIL? Public Notice 3 (PN 3) - VAT & NHIL A General Guide Public Notice 4 (PN 4) - VAT & NHIL Keeping Records & Accounts Public Notice 6 (PN 6) - Filling in a VAT/NHIL Return Public Notice 7 (PN 7) - VAT/NHIL - Imports & Exports Public Notice 8 (PN 8) - Partial Exemption Public Notice 9 (PN 9) - Special Retail Schemes Public Notice 10 (PN 10) - VAT/NHIL Liability Guide 13

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