EXPLAINER: Is GRA introducing a new tax for bloggers, brand influencers and MCs?

A report by Accra-based GHOne Television suggesting that the Ghana Revenue Authority is introducing a new tax to be charged on some Ghanaians has sparked conversations online.

GHOne TV’s report indicated that the Revenue Authority has planned to tax bloggers, brand influencers, and Master of Ceremonies (MCs).

“The Ghana Revenue Authority, as part of its revenue mobilization drive, has announced its intention to tax the earnings of bloggers, brand influencers, and Master of Ceremonies. This comes after the Authority observed the huge cash flow in the sector and urged players in the industry to voluntarily register and honor its civic responsibility,” the media organisation said in their report.

A news card developed by GHOne to amplify the news item

Many Internet users have reacted to the report, since it was published. For instance, the Bloggers Association of Ghana, in a press statement, expressed worry that they may be double taxed. Other users on social media have questioned the move.

Is this a new tax?

“There is nothing like a new policy to tax influencers and bloggers. GRA has not issued any statement to that effect,” Samuel Amoah, a Data Analyst and the Public Relations Officer for GRA told DUBAWA Ghana.

He described reports that suggested that the GRA was introducing a new tax as misleading.

 In providing further explanation on the matter, the GRA, says that the country’s income tax law mandates all income earners to file their taxes.

“All income earners are subject to Income Tax including Bloggers, Brand Influencers, MCs, Content Creators, etc,” the Authority said in an online post.

What is Income tax?

It is a tax charged on an individual’s total income (income from employment, business, and investment). According to the GRA, sole proprietors, persons in a partnership, and people who earn income above GHC 402.00 per month are to pay income tax.

Tax Evasion

There have been several complaints about some income-earning groups not filing their taxes.

At the 2021 Ghana Bar Conference in the Upper East Regional capital Bolgatanga, President Nana Akufo-Addo, admonished members of the legal fraternity to honor their tax obligations.

He said it was ‘embarrassing’ that lawyers were among a tall list of professionals who were flouting the country’s tax laws.

“It is embarrassing that lawyers are often on top of the list of those who flout our tax laws and use their expertise to avoid paying taxes. They appear to think that being members of the learned professions puts them above compliance with everyday civic duties like paying taxes”, Akufo-Addo said.

Tax-to-GDP ratio

Ghana’s tax-to-GDP ratio is somewhat considered to be among the lowest in West Africa.

Currently, the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio is quoted to be 13%, according to the 2023 Budget Statement (Pg. 63). This figure is below the minimum desirable tax-to-GDP ratio of 15% recommended by the World Bank.

The Finance Ministry and the Revenue Authority are targeting to increase the rate to 18% in the medium term.

Passage of Revenue Bills

In April this year, Parliament gave approval to three tax bills that are expected to rake in about GHC 4 billion annually as part of domestic mobilization.

These three are the Excise Duty and Excise Tax Stamp (Amendment) Bill, 2022, the Income Tax (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2022, and the Growth and Sustainability Levy Bill, 2022.

Further details about these bills are available in an explainer published by DUBAWA Ghana.

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