Government’s move to widen its tax net to rake in more revenue is about to take a rather controversial turn as the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced its decision to tax churches which have turned their fellowships into money-making venture.
Commissioner General of the GRA Kofi Nti said Thursday the Authority will soon conduct investigations into activities of all churches in the country with the view to taxing them based on their level of business transactions.
Reports say that the GRA has offered to pay informants 25 per cent of penalty against the churches that are hiding under fellowship to make money without paying taxes to the state.
“The Authority is conducting an investigation based on its own intelligence but has thrown word out to the public to work as informants who should report such churches who hide under fellowship to make money,” our correspondent reported.
The debate about whether churches should be taxed by the government has become a controversial subject in the country whose people are seen to be most religious with a dominant Christian population.
Critics have said churches have over the years capitalized on their huge following to make money from their services and other activities, hence government should focus on taxing them in its bid to widen the tax net.
But some leaders within the Christian fraternity have opposed the idea, arguing aside the church which are registered as charity organisations, all other business making ventures like schools pay tax to the government.
President Akufo-Addo has meanwhile backed calls 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 Thursday, the President observed churches were no more the charity institutions they used to be as they are now focusing into education and healthcare delivery among others, thus placing them in the tax net.
“The difficult truth is that once you get into the wealth and prosperity sphere, you necessarily slip into the tax and accounting line,” Nana Akufo-Addo indicated.