Tax analyst, Francis Timore Boi, has lauded the Ghana Revenue Authority’s plans to begin taxing electronic commerce and online businesses.
The GRA has disclosed of plans of raking in some GH¢2.7 billion from taxes as it targets betting, gaming, and e-commerce companies starting from April this year.
This will mean the likes of Netflix and other multinational online businesses that accrue revenue from Ghana will be compelled to comply with Ghana’s e-commerce tax.
According to the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Rev Ammishaddai Owusu Amoah, the GRA has completed design works on a software that will monitor and tax online businesses in a bid to transform the country’s tax revenue mobilization strategies to reflect the changing trends of business.
Speaking in an earlier interview with Citi Business News, he further clarified that the e-commerce tax will be targeted at online service providers, both local and foreign.
Tax analyst, Francis Timore Boi, in support of the new development, believes this move can only be effective if the revenue mobilization authority does due diligence in monitoring the works of these online companies.
“If you are providing electronic transactions, you’re supposed to register and pay the VAT, so it’s not a new tax. The challenge was that there were no mechanisms and tools were in place. Because it was easy for evasion and avoidance of taxes. But now the GRA has put in the relevant measures, and they are saying that they’ve reached out to companies like Netflix to register, I believe there is a huge potential.”
He added, “Possibly, they can start with the indirect taxes then we move to the next level and begin discussions on how to tax the income these foreign companies have earned from Ghana. So it is possible, but all we need is the tools to monitor effectively. And we hope that the current software will help monitor the transactions well.”
On his part, Maximus Ametorgoh, a digital marketing strategist and Managing Director of digital advertising company, Popout, believes government and businesses must focus on boosting the sale of locally produced items on these online platforms, so the country can benefit more from electronic commerce.
“I think the policymakers should start thinking. If we say Nigerians shouldn’t sell at Makola or Circle, and they come to Ghana and create a website, they can still sell the same products. So should we make it open so that we can get more people? How do we also make sure that we produce a lot of products within Ghana because industrialization is going to drive e-commerce? If we don’t industrialize, we’ll end up selling Chinese products online and e-commerce will grow in Ghana selling foreign products.”