The 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 constitutes commercial activities and therefore should be taxed.
The GRA Commissioner-General told Joy News that the only church activities exempt from taxes are 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 Obini Sticker will be taxed accordingly because “it is income to him [Bishop Daniel Obinim].”
A long time coming
The GRA has for months been considering a review of taxable activities by churches.
President 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, 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.
But former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, has said churches already pay taxes and will continue to honour their obligations to the state once GRA clarifies which activities it plans to tax.