The Self-Assessment Tax Filing: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Some time ago in March 2017 on my way to a Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) office to fulfil my corporate income tax obligation for the first quarter of the 2017 year of assessment as an instalment tax payer (i.e. for self-assessment), I met my good friend Mr. Derrick Kofi Boateng who was in his usual business mode.

Upon knowing my reason for visiting the GRA office, he shouted “Oh maasa” and started laughing, which was so loud that almost everybody in the office turned to look at us. Suddenly he stopped and said,

“But wait oooo… how can you be paying tax now when the 2017 year of assessment has not even ended? how did you know how much tax to pay when GRA is yet to determine the tax payable? And does it mean you will not pay tax again when the 2017 year of assessment ends?”

Now it was my turn to laugh too, but not that loud to attract people’s attention. I am very much convinced that most taxpayers are ignorant of this because the Tax Authorities have not widened their tax education to include some of these issues which is stipulated in the Income Tax Act 2015 (Act 896) as amended.

What is self-assessment?

Self-assessment simply describes a situation where a taxpayer estimates how much income he/she expects to make in any given year of assessment. Based on such estimates, the taxpayer determines the tax payable and submits same to the Commissioner-General in the form prescribed for such purposes for consideration. It is worthy to note that the Commissioner-General may however base on relevant circumstances and information available to him reject the estimates submitted by a taxpayer if in his opinion the self-assessment is outrageous

The Income Tax Act 2015, (Act 896) as amended requires taxpayers to file tax estimates for the year to the GRA and also determine the amount of tax to be paid, based on their own assessments. The estimates are then divided into four and payments made at the end of every quarter. According section 121 (1), an instalment payer shall pay tax by quarterly instalment if the person derives or expects to derive assessable income during a year of assessment. The GRA in employing the self-assessment method may not expect 100 percent accuracy and therefore allows a 10 percent margin of error, the final declaration should be at least 90 percent.

Due date of self-assessment returns is by the date for the payment of the first tax instalment i.e. if your basis period starts from January to 31st December, then you have up to 31st March to file your estimates for each year of assessment.

The Good
• The provision encourages self-compliance which is a major key for tax revenue mobilisation
• The Act realizing the dynamics in business operations during a year of assessment has made provision for taxpayers to adjust or revise already submitted estimates. Section 122(5) permits a taxpayer to file a revise estimates with the Commissioner-General together with a statement of reasons for the revision. However, 122(6) requires that the revised estimates should only be for the purpose of calculating instalments payable after the date the revised estimate is filed with the Commissioner-General.
• The Government is also able predict its tax revenue with some degree of certainty if this self-assessment is strictly followed.
• Government could also use this to widen the tax net especially those not who are not self or provisionally assessed.
• It equally assists companies in their tax planning strategies whiles strengthening its budgetary control i.e. to take advantage of relevant tax benefits.
• It also helps to companies to eliminate financial inefficiencies i.e. unbudgeted and unnecessary expenses are eliminated or avoided.
• It also helps an entity to ensure efficient cashflow and working capital management i.e. the knowledge of having to make quarterly tax payments puts a company in a better position to manage its cashflow so as to meet these payments as it falls due.
• A company’s tax burden is usually lessened at the end of the year of assessment as you don’t have to wait till end of year to make a bullet payment. Some companies even end up with tax credits due to overpayment.

The Bad
• When a default in filing estimates as stipulated in the Act, the Commissioner-General is empowered to estimate for the taxpayer base on the relevant information available to him. Section 123(3) stipulates that “For the purposes of section 121, the estimated tax payable by the person for the year of assessment is the amount estimated by the Commissioner-General. Imagine the GRA making estimates for you? Your guess is as good as mine.
• Despite the potential efficiency in cashflow and working capital management, a company in financial distress will find it difficult to raise the relevant cashflow to meet the tax payment as and when it falls due.
• With the upfront release of cash to pay taxes, there is a potential denial of future investment as cash that could have been used for viable investment is paid upfront to settle tax obligation.
• Unlike the promptness and speed with which GRA expects taxpayers to pay taxes when due, the same is not applied when a taxpayer is requesting for a tax credit or refund. A taxpayer will have to go through a series of process to validate the claim and sometimes be subjected to tax audit to confirm claim.

The Ugly
The ugliest things with the self-assessment filing comes in two forms: failure to file estimates and understating of the estimates.

As indicated, a failure to file for self-assessment means that you are indirectly asking the GRA to tell you how much income you expect to make and the tax payable for the year of assessment as per stipulated by section 123(3)

Also, a person who understates his estimate or revised estimate shall be liable to pay interest at 125% of Bank of Ghana (BOG) discount rate of the tax unpaid for the period for which the tax is outstanding compounded monthly especially where the under-declaration has been wilful.

The Ghana Revenue Authority could also visit taxpayer’s premises to audit the estimates and declarations that has been submitted to it in order to verify what has been submitted. Where a taxpayer is found to have been untruthful in his or her declarations, sanctions including prosecution at the law court will be applied.

My conclusion is rather of a question than a suggestion; Is GRA ensuring full compliance of the provisional and self assessment provisions in the Income Tax Act by taxpayers? Or as a corporate entity are you taking the lead to inform GRA of how much tax you expect to pay or you want GRA to determine that for you?

Let’s meet to discuss this in the tax class!

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All About Real Estate Investing Book

Real Estate Investing is no longer the special past time of wealthy businessmen. In today’s world real estate has become a common financial motion for people from all walks of life. This trend will likely to continue to perform will into the predictable future. This change is due to elimination and concentration on company pension plans. Personal investing guide has replaced these plans as the preferred way to plan for retirement

Real estate investing book increases the knowledge and information in the real estate field. People who speak in real estate market are the people with experience in real estate industry. A real estate book which is introduced in electronic format is called as Real estate E-book.

A real estate investing book is a collection of paper, parchment or other material, bound together along one edge within covers that contain information about real estate investment business. A real estate book is also a real estate literary work or a main division of such a work.

A real estate investing book could be studied by real estate course students in the form of a book report. This book may also be read by a real estate professional or real estate business man who would like get more knowledge about some topic related to real estate. There are several recommended real estate investing books available for increasing your real estate investing knowledge and improving your real estate business.

Real estate investing book is one of the least risky types of investments books you can read. Rather than investing in hit or miss stocks that are sometimes unpredictable, real estate investing is a much more stable market. If you make a wise real estate investing book purchase, you will be able to increase your investment’s worth over time even if you put little or no knowledge or basic ideas into it.

The purpose of the Investing book is to supply all the necessary information so that you can obtain new skills and educate more yourself in real estate investing field, in order to get proven profitable results from your investments in the stock market! The Investing book intends to not only provide advice on investments for beginners, but also aims to offer fresh ideas for experienced investors. The Investing book also offers a list of investing terms and important phrases that the investors would need to be well-known with upon their embarkation into investments.

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The Reason Why Email Marketing Is Still The Best

Digital marketing is great hype today. New methods and techniques to conduct the marketing are being devised every day. Amidst all this, it is easy to assume that email marketing is an obsolete process.

We may consider it as it is no longer being used or isn’t fetching desirable results.

However, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Email marketing is still widespread today. It is, in fact, becoming more successful with time. But what makes it such an appealing marketing technique, despite being so old?

Well, let’s find out.

Here are the reasons why people are still in love with email marketing:

1. Low Cost

The biggest reasons why emailing continues to remain one of the favorites is the cost factor. It has a very low cost involved. All you require is an operational email ID, and you are ready to start working on the email marketing tactics.

Sometimes, people start buying bulk email addresses. However, it is quite rare. Mostly they send emails only to people who genuinely subscribe to the site themselves.

An emerging practice is to use software for automating the generation and sending of emails. However, this cost is often less compared to other modes of marketing.

There are neither any print charges involved, nor do you need to pay fees for the advertisements space like space on television and newspapers. Overall, email marketing remains one of the cheapest modes of marketing.

2. Only for the customers

Most marketing techniques involve users who may have never interacted with the brand. Some types of digital marketing tactics target users who have shown similar interests in their actions, as seen on Facebook and Google.

However, email marketing is the only marketing mode where the users themselves ask to be part of the company’s subscribers.

Companies get email addresses of the users either when they subscribe to the newsletters or when they register to their website.

Taking advance approval from customers ensures that emailing effort is more visible and effective compared to other marketing methods.

3. Target your audience

One of the big merits of the email marketing is that it allows you to target a particular segment of your audience.

Since companies usually obtain email addresses by subscription or registration, they also capture their basic information about the customer like name, gender, age, location etc.

This information could be utilized in creating targeting emails.

For instance, if your company has a great offer for students, you can send emails to users who are less than 24 years of age. And, if your company is offering discounted prices on women apparels, then you may consider targeting females instead of men.

Users can also notice the pattern that they receive only those emails that are relevant to them. Thus, apart from saving a lot of resources, the company is also able to create a trust factor between the customer and the brand.

4. Ask them to make a move

One-way marketing despite having a broader reach suffers from a very critical drawback, i.e., lack of interaction. Even if you pitch the best of your marketing ideas, yet the user is free to ignore them.

In simpler words, you just cannot compel users to make an effort for paying heed to your offer. However, small efforts can definitely pay off.

Email marketing allows you to put in those efforts. By introducing a simple “call-to-action”, you can ask the users to visit your website and see what you have to offer.

Having call-to-action also saves you from the trouble of giving too much information in the mail itself. Thus, in the email body, you can simply include the most-appealing content.

5. Saves you the effort

Apart from being cost-effective, it is one of the simplest marketing methods around. One does not require any high-end software, no huge team or a separate department.

All you need is the required hardware and a few professionals who know the job.

There is always a scope for better software and tools to be used in email marketing.

However, people mostly prefer the simple format, since it is majorly the content that decides the effectiveness of an email. The lack of complexity allows you to focus completely on creating an appealing email content.

6. See your score

A salient feature that makes the email marketing technique a desirable one is the metrics. Most traditional marketing methods have no or poor metrics, like radio, television, and newspapers.

However, in email marketing, despite being decades old, you can get all the measurements you need.

Also note, to identify the performance metrics, you would require appropriate email software.

A right software will tell you everything correctly, right from the number of emails that were actually opened to the ones that redirected the user to your website.

These results could give you insights into what is and isn’t working for your campaign.

7. See instant results

One great benefits of using email marketing is that it allows you to perceive instant results. As soon as you send an email, the user would either receive it or be notified about it. Most people check their emails within 24 hours.

Thus, whether or not the user decides to take your offer, you get to see the real results the next day.

Most other marketing methods require some days or even weeks to bear results. But email marketing can get you the results before the date changes.

Some people argue that such hasty marketing is counterproductive, but that is utterly false.

8. No boundaries

Email marketing being a prominent part of the internet marketing, it does not have any boundaries set by geography.

While this is true for any digital marketing method, the email marketing is the true alternative to the traditional marketing methods like print and television.

The difference is you can target customers globally belonging to various countries, genders, age groups, professions etc.

The more range of customers you choose, the bigger will your potential customer base would be.


Email marketing, despite the negative stereotype, is both alive and productive even today. As discussed above, there are loads of speculations that make people fall in love with it.

Though there are other marketing methods may beat the email method in one or two ways, overall, it is still one of the most effective and accessible marketing methods across the globe.

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Why Should You Consider Loan Consolidation

Debt consolidation entails taking out one loan to pay off many others. This is often done to secure a lower interest rate, secure a fixed interest rate or for the convenience of servicing only one loan.

Debt consolidation can simply be from a number of unsecured loans into another unsecured loan, but more often it involves a secured loan against an asset that serves as collateral, which is most commonly a house (in this case a mortgage is secured against the house.) The collateralization of the loan allows a lower interest rate than without it, because by collateralizing, the asset owner agrees to allow the forced sale (foreclosure) of the asset in order to pay back the loan. The risk to the lender is reduced so the interest rate offered is lower.

Because of the theoretical advantage that debt consolidation offers a consumer that has high interest debt balances, companies can take advantage of that benefit of refinancing to charge very high fees in the debt consolidation loan. Sometimes these fees are near the state maximum for mortgage fees. In addition, some unscrupulous companies will knowingly wait until a client has backed themselves into a corner and must refinance in order to consolidate and pay off bills that they are behind on the payments. If the client does not refinance they may lose their house, so they are willing to pay any allowable fee to complete the debt consolidation. In some cases the situation is that the client does not have enough time to shop for another lender with lower fees and may not even be fully aware of them. This practice is known as predatory lending. Certainly many, if not most, debt consolidation transactions do not involve predatory lending.

What is a Federal Student Consolidation Loan?

A Federal Consolidation Loan is a loan that you can use to pay off all or a portion of your original eligible federal student loans. You combine (consolidate) your existing federal student loan debt into one new loan.

What are the terms of a Federal Consolidation Loan?

o The interest rate on a Federal Consolidation Loan is fixed, meaning it will not change over the life of the loan, even if the interest rates on other federal loans go up (or down).

o The interest rate is calculated from the weighted average of the interest rates of your
existing loans, rounded up to the nearest 0.125%, with a cap of 8.25%.

o There are no fees to apply for or receive a Federal Consolidation Loan.

o The repayment term is up to 30 years, depending on the total amount of your student loan debt, and there is no pre-payment penalty.

Why should you consider consolidation?

With a Federal Consolidation Loan, you can benefit from:

o Lower monthly payments

o Fixed interest rates

o Only one payment for your federal loans each month

o New or renewed deferments

Because you are allowed up to 30 years to repay your loan, your monthly payment can be significantly lower with a consolidation loan, although you may pay more in total interest over the life of your loan.

When should you consolidate?

Only loans that are in grace, deferment, forbearance, or repayment can be consolidated into a Federal Consolidation Loan. Loans that have an in-school status cannot be consolidated.

There are no deadlines. However, Federal Stafford Loans that are in the grace period (or in deferment) have the lower rate compared to loans in repayment (or forbearance). Because the current interest rate is used in the calculation to determine the weighted, fixed interest rate of your consolidation loan, you will save money over the long run if you consolidate while in your grace period or while in deferment. (If you choose to consolidate while in your grace period, keep in mind that your grace period will be cancelled when the consolidation loan is issued and you will begin repayment.)

Student loan consolidation

In the United States, federal student loans are consolidated somewhat differently, as federal student loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government. In a federal student loan consolidation, existing loans are purchased and closed by a loan consolidation company or by the Department of Education (depending on what type of federal student loan the borrower holds). Interest rates for the consolidation are based on that year’s student loan rate, which is in turn based on the 91-day Treasury bill rate at the last auction in May of each calendar year.

Student loan rates can fluctuate from the current low of 4.70% to a maximum of 8.25% for federal Stafford loans, 9% for PLUS loans. The current consolidation program allows students to consolidate once with a private lender, and reconsolidate again only with the Department of Education. Once the student has consolidated their loans, the loans are set to a fixed rate based on the year they consolidated; reconsolidating does not change that rate.

Federal student loan consolidation is often referred to as refinancing, which is incorrect because the loan rates are not changed, merely locked in. Unlike private secton debt consolidation, student loan consolidation does not incur any fees for the borrower; private companies make money on student loan consolidation by reaping subsidies from the federal government.

Student loan consolidation can be beneficial to students’ credit rating, but it’s important to note that not all federal student loan consolidation companies report their loans to all credit bureaus; SLM Corporation (formerly Sallie Mae) does not report to Experian or Transunion, which means that students will have differing credit scores at Equifax, Transunion, and Experian.

For more information visit our websites
Life insurance settlement or Federal Student Loan Consolidation

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