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Foreign Affairs ministry to issue electronic tax exemptions



Story by: Yaw Sarpong
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI) has been setup to issue electronic exemptions for members of the Diplomatic Community.
In a statement signed by the GRA Commissioner General, Mr. George Blankson stated that the issuance of the electronic exemptions for Diplomatic Community will be done through the eMDA portal of the GCNet / GCMS system.
Daily Express gathered that this directive is to enforce the use of web based system by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to issue especial permits and tax exemptions to some set of group of people within the GCNet / GCMS.
According to the statement the directive take effects from July 22nd 2013 and all approvals for exemptions issued by MFARI shall be made through the eMDA portal of the GCNet system.
Tax experts in Ghana have said that one of the areas which the government need to take a critical look at is the tax exemption to some individuals and corporate bodies. This will help the government to bridge tax gaps in terms of generating more revenues for the country.
In order to provide tax incentives, the laws of Ghana provide that, some incomes should be exempted from tax. They are the salary, allowances, pension and gratuity of the President of Ghana; the income of a local authority other than income from activities which are only indirectly connected with the local authority’s status as a local authority; the income of a statutory or registered building society or statutory registered friendly society other than income from any business carried on by the society; and the income of an exempt organization other than income from any business.
Also includes interest paid to an individual by a resident financial institution; and to an individual on bonds issued by the Government of Ghana.

Capital sums paid to a person as compensation or gratuity in relation to personal injuries suffered by that person and the death of another person also attract tax exemption.

Also are the Interest, dividend or any other income of an Approved Unit Trust
Scheme or mutual fund or any income paid to any member of that scheme; the income of non-resident persons from any business in relation to ships or aircraft provided equivalent exemption is granted by the beneficiary’s country of residence to persons resident in Ghana; the income of a public corporation or institution exempted from tax under any enactment; and the income of a person receiving instruction at an educational institution from scholarship, exhibition, bursary or similar educational endowment.

The income of an individual entitled to privileges under the Diplomatic Immunities Act 1962 (Act 148) or any other similar enactment or under Regulations made under that Act or similar enactment do not attract tax.

The laws of this country permit income of an individual entitled to privileges and immunities of the United Nations and its Specialised Agencies. Similarly, the income of an individual where there is an agreement between the Government of Ghana and a foreign Government or a public international organization for the provision of technical services to Ghana where: the individual is a non-resident person or resident solely by reason of performing the service; the President has concurred with the tax provisions in the agreement; and it is in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of
Ghana.

The income of a public service employee of a foreign country provided that person is a non-resident person or an individual who is resident solely by reason of performing that service; that the person does not exercise any other employment or carry on any business; the income is payable from the public funds of the foreign country; the income is subject to tax in the foreign country.

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