Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Emmanuel Kofi Nti, has served notice about plans by his outfit to start prosecuting pastors who refuse to pay tax on sales from anointing oil, holy water and other items.
The move comes on the heels of a huge debate over whether or not the sale of these items constitute commercial activities and, therefore, should be taxed. The GRA commissioner-general told Joy News which was monitored by Today that the only church activities exempted from taxes were offering and tithes.
“The man of God; is he not an individual? And is he not accountable to the state for his tax obligations? There is an opportunity for us to look at it,” he said, refuting suggestions that taxing businesses owned by churches will be met with stiff resistance.
He said the popular ‘Obinim Sticker’ will be taxed accordingly because “it is income to him [Bishop Daniel Obinim].”
The GRA has for months been considering a review of taxable activities by churches.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo backs this plan for churches in the country to be taxed, grounding his position on the fact that churches have now moved into the realm of wealth creation and prosperity.
Speaking at the 2018 synod of the Global Evangelical Church in Accra in August this year, the President observed that churches were no more the charity institutions they used to be as they were now focusing on education and healthcare delivery among others, thus placing them in the tax net.
But, the former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, indicated that churches already pay taxes and would continue to honour their obligations to the state once GRA clarifies which activities it plans to tax.