GRA targets GH¢1.7bn from e-commerce this year

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has launched an E-commerce and Digital Service Registration Portal, as it anticipates to mobilise GH¢1.7 billion revenue from taxing online businesses beginning April this year to increase the chances of meeting its 2022 tax target.

The Authority is confident that taxing of businesses in the online space including, e-betting, Tonaton, Netflix, Facebook, Jumia, Alibaba, Amazon, among others, will improve the prospects of mobilising the GH¢80.3 billion tax target it has set for this year.

Speaking to the B&FT at the official launch of the non-resident E-commerce and Digital Service Registration Portal in Accra yesterday, GRA’s Commissioner General, Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah said: “the portal is launched to enable non-resident persons register and position themselves to start applying the VAT from April 1, 2022”.

The 2022 budget statement tasked the GRA to mobilise some GH¢2.7 billion from the digital economy, including all e-commerce, digital services and online gaming. However, Dr. Owusu-Amoah said the GRA is confident of colleting some GH¢1.7 billion out of the target, using the year 2022 as the beginning to test the grounds and gradually increase the revenue in subsequent years.

The e-commerce tax initiative, according to the Commissioner General, forms an approach to ensuring compliance by all non-resident communities operating in Ghana to fulfil their tax obligations and enhance voluntary compliance.

The Value Added Tax Act, 2013 (Act 870) have made provisions for taxation of e-commerce and digital services, Dr. Owusu-Amoah said, adding, “the system has been designed with the Central Bank to the extent that businesses that do not comply will have their payments automatically blocked”.

“To this end, it’s important that any social media or any platform that trades or sells online and gets payment from Ghana make the attempt to properly register on the e-commerce platform and pay the due tax,” he added.

Head of Trade and Economic Reform at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Mr. Colin Sykes said the UK, has since 2015, been excited in supporting the GRA in its revenue mobilisation initiatives.

He said it is important to effectively consider e-commerce as a revenue source particularly in a post-COVID world where taxes from the digital space is the order of the day and is growing.

Mr. Sykes indicated that the UK government is ready to provide technical support in Ghana’s quest to position itself beyond aid.

“On the issue of taxation, UK is always passionate on that, since it is a major avenue to mobilise resources for development of any country. It is the reason why the UK government is keen on initiatives that would improve compliance and enforcement,” he noted.

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