General News of Thursday, 4 April 2013
President John Dramani Mahama has described as “misplaced” arguments raised in sections of the media against his filling of tax returns and the payment of taxes.
He explained that as the Vice President between January 7, 2009 and June 2012, he was required to pay tax.
President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday filed his tax returns for the 2012 fiscal year at the Kinbu Domestic Tax Revenue Division office of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
He explained that while that was not the first time he was filing his tax returns, he decided to make it public to whip up the enthusiasm of people to honour their tax obligations.
He said he made profits from the sale of his book (My first coup d’etat) and his farm and he was filing his tax returns on those incomes.
But there has been a media argument in the light of article 68(1), which states that the President of the Republic is not supposed to hold any office of profit or emolument.
Issues have also been raised that as per article 68(5) of the 1992 constitution, the President of the Republic is exempt from paying tax.
Responding to the arguments with a press a statement signed by Dr Raymond Atugubah, Executive Secretary to the President, he explained that the 1992 constitution per article 68(5) did not exempt the Vice President from paying tax but only the President.
It said Article 68(5) of the 1992 constitution provides that “The salary, allowances, facilities, pensions and gratuity [of the President] shall be exempt from tax.”
The statement added that at all material times article 68 (5) made reference to only the President and not the Vice President.
With regards to the issue of the President being exempt from paying tax, the statement clarified that what the President was precluded from doing as per article 68(1) of the 1992 constitution was to hold ‘any office of profit or emolument’.
It explained that for this tax year (2013), President Mahama would have to pay tax on taxable income that accrued to him other than from holding an office, adding that “This means that monies accruing from a book that the President has written will be taxable because it does not derive from an ‘office’ within the meaning of article 68(1)”.
Article 68 of the Constitution states that:
(1) The President shall not, while he continues in office as President (a) hold any other office of profit or emolument whether private or public and whether directly or indirectly; or (b) hold the office of chancellor or head of any university in Ghana.
(2) The President shall not, on leaving office as President, hold any office of profit or emolument, except with the permission of Parliament, in any establishment, either directly or indirectly, other than that of the State.
(3) The President shall receive such salary, allowances and facilities as may be prescribed by Parliament on the recommendations of the committee referred to in article 71 of this Constitution.
(4) On leaving office, the President shall receive a gratuity in addition to pension, equivalent to his salary and other allowances and facilities prescribed by Parliament in accordance with clause (3) of this article.
(5) The salary, allowances, facilities, pensions and gratuity referred to in clauses (3) and (4) shall be exempt from tax.
(6) Where the President is removed from office under paragraph (c) of clause (1) of article 69 of this Constitution or resigns, he shall be entitled to such pension and other retiring awards and facilities as Parliament may prescribe on the recommendation of the Committee referred to in Article 71 of this Constitution.
(7) The salary and allowances payable to the President and any pension or gratuity payable to him on leaving office shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund.
(8) The salary, allowances, facilities and privileges of the President shall not be varied to his disadvantage while he holds office.
(9) The pension payable to the President and the facilities available to him shall not be varied to his disadvantage during his lifetime.