Contrary to earlier media reports that beggars on the streets will begin paying tax, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) says “alms received by beggars on the street does not fall within the taxable threshold”.
The Principal Revenue Chief at the Small Tax Payer Office of the GRA in the Northern Region, Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed, is widely reported in the media as saying, “Those who carry things on their heads to sell (hawkers) be it cloth or consumables, we will tax them, how much more people who earn daily. GRA taxes foreigners in town and by law the beggars fall within the taxable threshold”.
But in a statement signed by Assistant Commissioner at the Communication & Public Affairs Department, Kwasi Bobie-Ansah, beggars “do not pay tax on the alms received”.
The statement explains that “the Income Tax Act 2015, ( Act 896) states that the chargeable income of a person for a year of assessment is the total of the assessable income of that person for the year from each employment, business or investment”.
It further states that “when a person has no chargeable income or the income is below the taxable threshold, the person is not expected to pay tax and therefore does not file tax returns”.
For these reasons, the GRA says it will only implement laws passed by Parliament and will not carry out activities that have no legal backing.