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Ghana: Tax Measures Introduced

(July 18, 2013) Ghana’s government is facing a revenue shortfall and has recently introduced a number of tax measures to deal with the situation. Some of the steps being taken are redeployments of measures used previously. (Kennedy Munyandi, Ghana: New Tax Measures Introduced to Meet Revenue Shortfall (July 15, 2013), IBFD TAX RESEARCH PLATFORM [hereinafter IBFD], International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation online subscription database.) The measures, once approved by the President, will include:

  • widening the communications services tax base. The Ghanaian Parliament passed a Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Bill on July 9, 2013, in order to widen the tax base, as well as to improve communications clarity and introduce penalties for failure to comply with the law’s provisions. This law will add interconnection services to the tax base, place additional requirements on network service providers, and impose a penalty of 5% of the gross income of a business, based on the last audited financial statement, for not giving government inspectors proper access to their records (Kennedy Munyandi, Ghana: Communications Service Tax Base Widened and Penalties Introduced (July 15, 2013), IBFD);
  • imposing an environmental excise tax on plastic and plastic products and an import duty on all kinds of telephone handsets. The rate of the import duty on hand-held telephones will be 20%, and the excise tax on plastics will be 5% (Kennedy Munyandi, Ghana: Import Duty on Telephone Sets and Environmental Excise Duty on Plastics Revised (July 15, 2013), IBFD);
  • re-introducing a value-added tax on the supply and importation of telephone handsets. Parliament passed the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill 2013 on July 4, 2013, to impose this tax (Kennedy Munyandi, Ghana: VAT on Supply and Importation of Telephone Handsets to Be Re-Introduced (July 15, 2013), IBFD);
  • re-introducing the National Fiscal Stabilization Levy, a 5% tax on the gross income of businesses in certain industries, which will be in force for about 18 months. The industries involved have not yet been announced. This levy had previously been imposed from 2009 to 2012 (Kennedy Munyandi, Ghana: National Fiscal Stabilization Levy Reintroduced (July 12, 2013), IBFD); and
  • imposing a temporary, special import levy on selected goods at the point of importation, including outboard motors, fishing nets, agricultural machinery, products for use in milking, energy-saving bulbs, book-binding machines, cutlasses, and some additional farming products. The levy amount will be calculated in relation to the cost, freight, and insurance rates of the goods involved and is scheduled to expire at the end of 2015 (Kennedy Munyandi, Ghana: Special Import Levy on Selected Goods to Be Introduced (July 15, 2013), IBFD).