History of Customs Excise and Preventive Service CEPS in Ghana
The Customs Division is one of the three divisions of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the state organization responsible for the collection of both direct and indirect taxes on behalf of government.
The other two divisions are the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD), responsible for the administration of all domestic taxes and levies, and the Support Services Division (SSD) which is responsible for the provision of all administrative and other specialized services to the organisation.
What are the functions of the Customs Division?
As their core functions, the Customs Division is responsible for the collection of indirect taxes for the state. These include Import duty, Import VAT, Export Duty, Petroleum Taxes, Import Excise and other levies. These taxes and levies are collected on general goods as well as vehicles.
The Customs Division also protects revenue by preventing smuggling. This is done by physically patrolling the borders and other strategic points, examination of goods as well as documents relating to the goods, and search of premises.
As a frontline institution at the country’s borders, and part of its security network, the Customs Division also plays a key role in surmounting external aggression and protecting the territorial integrity of Ghana.
In addition to these functions, the Customs Division also performs agency duties on behalf of other government departments and ministries. These duties relate to prohibitions and restrictions of imports and exports, and aim to enforce laws on facilitation of international trade, import and export restrictions, foreign exchange control, public health, security and safety, etc.
How do Customs arrive at the duty someone should pay on his imported goods?
All items that go into international trade appear, in accordance with their characteristics in a customs document called the Harmonized Code.
The codes are assigned to goods with related specified rates of duty and other taxes.
Upon importation of an item, the Customs finds out under which code in the tariff the item can be placed and hence the rates of duty and taxes to apply.
This process is called classification and is one of the considerations that go into the assessment of duty and taxes on an item.
The other factor is the cost, insurance and freight value (explain) of the item. This value is supplied by a destination inspection company after examining the invoice and other relevant import documents from the importer. This process is called valuation.
These factors form the bases upon which correct duty and taxes of an imported item are calculated.
What is the procedure for clearing imported goods and vehicles?
Importer (or his agent) is required to:
- Submit original bill of lading or air waybill, IDF, invoices and packing lists to the appropriate destination inspection company for classification and valuation and the issuance of a Final Classification and Valuation Report (FCVR)
- Obtain any relevant License/Permit/Exemption from the appropriate ministry/department/agency
- Submit a Customs Declaration
electronically (via GCNet), for validation
- Print hard copy of validated declaration, sign it and proceed to the designated bank to pay applicable duty and taxes
- Submit hard copy of declaration with all attachments and the bank receipt to Document Verification for verification and release, where no physical examination is required or Compliance for document verification and physical examination, prior to release.
At land frontiers where the electronic system exists, the procedure is similar to the above one, with appropriate variations. Where the electronic system does not exist, the goods are examined by the Customs, classified, and values assigned, using values provided by the appropriate inspection companies.
The appropriate rates are then applied to arrive at the duties and taxes to be paid.
Vehicles: New: (not more than 6 months old from the date of manufacture): – Same procedure as above Used:
- Submit relevant documents for initial assessment using manu-facturer’s value, depreciated ac-cording to the age of the vehicle.
- Submit declaration electronically, for validation
- Print hard copy of validated declaration
- Make payment at the bank
- Submit declaration, bank payment receipt and all other relevant documents to Compliance for document verification and physical examination and release At the frontier stations where the electronic system does not exist, manual clearance is done at the regional offices of the Customs Division.
An imported vehicle arriving at any frontier station is first detained and escorted by an officer to the regional headquarters where an examination is conducted and assessment done for duty payment and subsequent release.