Press release

UK partners with Ghana on tax transparency

The UK will help Ghana clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion by sharing expertise to improve their tax system.

Children being taught in an outdoor classroom in northern Ghana.Tackling tax evasion will enable Ghana to invest revenues into public services such as education.
Children being taught in an outdoor classroom in northern Ghana. Tackling tax evasion will enable Ghana to invest revenues into public services such as education. Photo: Henry Donati/DFID

The UK will work with the Government of Ghana to tackle tax evasion so the country can raise revenues and build stronger public services, International Development Secretary Justine Greening and Financial Secretary David Gauke MP announced today.

The partnership will allow Ghana to automatically receive tax information from HMRC on the UK holdings of Ghanaian taxpayers and vice versa - helping to detect undeclared assets, catch tax evaders and deter potential tax evaders.

By tackling tax evasion head on, Ghana can maximise domestic resources and ensure people pay their fair share of tax. This will enable revenues to be invested into public services such as health, education and infrastructure.

Delivering on the UK’s commitment to help developing countries tackle international tax evasion, HMRC is partnering with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to develop their expertise on tax legislation, compliance and data privacy so they are ready for the automatic exchange of tax information in 2018.

International Development Secretary, Justine Greening said:

The UK is committed to helping developing countries get their tax systems in order so that as their economies grow they are able to increasingly fund their own health and education programmes and reduce aid dependence.

This excellent new partnership will also help Ghana clamp down on tax evasion and reclaim millions of pounds in lost revenue.

Today’s tax deal marks a significant milestone, and I look forward to working closely with colleagues in Treasury to ensure that this is a real opportunity to tackle corruption and poverty and contribute to DFID’s efforts to reduce corruption in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke said:

The UK has been at the forefront of tackling international tax avoidance and evasion.

We committed to helping developing countries increase their tax transparency and improve their tax systems, so I’m delighted to announce our new partnership with Ghana. Sharing our tax expertise will help the Ghanaian taxman have the systems in place to make the most of the tax information they recieve from over 90 countries come 2018.

Ghanaian Finance Minister, the Hon. Seth Terkper said:

Ghana believes in the united international onslaught on tax evasion through transparency and exchange of information because this menace can effectively be eliminated only through international cooperation.

In order to boost revenue generation Ghana is ready to join the global effort to control tax evasion. The collaboration with UK is bound to profit the two countries and Ghana’s revenue generation efforts will be enhanced.

Notes to editors

  1. In 2013 at the Lough Erne conference, the PM announced the UK’s commitment to international tax transparency – paving the way for international action at the G20.
  2. In 2014, G20 Finance Ministers agreed to a new global standard for the automatically exchanging tax information between Governments (also known as the Common Reporting Standard) by 2017 or the end of 2018 and committed to support developing countries that wished to participate. Over 90 countries have already signed up.
  3. The Department for International Development and HM Revenue and Customs will work with Ghanaian authorities to implement the Common Reporting Standard and ensure that they are also able to receive information under the scheme by 2018.
  4. The Secretary of State launched the Addis Tax Initiative at the Financing for Development Conference on 13th July 2015, along with the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Kenya and others. Under the initiative donor countries have committed to doubling their support for tax reform in the developing world by 2020. Meanwhile developing nations commit to step up their work on tax reform to improve the fairness, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of their tax systems.
  5. DFID supports the Global Forum and World Bank Group to provide technical assistance to developing countries to introduce exchange of information. We also fund the Global Forum’s Africa Initiative, which raises awareness of exchange of information as a means to tackle tax evasion in Africa. DFID and the HMRC tax capacity unit also provide support to the Ghanaian Revenue Authority.

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Published 6 August 2015