The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is in the process of developing mechanisms and modalities to tax e-commerce businesses by the end of the year.
The move, which formed part of measures to widen and increase the tax net, had become necessary because of the emerging e-commerce business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nana Egyirba Aggrey, Head of Taxpayer Services at Cape Coast made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of a multi-stakeholder business integrity forum organized by the Ghana Integrity Initiative in Cape Coast.
The forum would promote accountability, transparency and integrity in businesses, brought together 50 SMEs who were enlightened on Ghana’s tax regimes and the service charter of the Registrar Generals Department.
‘There is a project to tax e-commerce businesses before the end of the year and a unit at the head office is working on the modalities’, she said, adding that it was GRA’s expectation to generate more revenue when the tax was enforced.
She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, had brought a lot of e-commerce business opportunities which was generating a lot of profits that needed to be taxed.
Nana Egyirba Aggrey hinted that there was a five-year tax holiday for young entrepreneurs below 35 years who were into manufacturing, agro-processing and Information Technology.
The aim, she said was for them to grow their businesses and therefore encouraged eligible young entrepreneurs to apply for the tax incentive.
Mr Michael Okai, a Coordinator for GII explained that the forum sought to strengthen the integrity of doing business in Ghana by creating a quarterly platform for the private sector, selected public sector institutions and media to meet and discuss emerging challenges faced by the private sector in doing business in Ghana.
He underscored the need to provide the needed support for SMEs to thrive, saying SMEs were the engine of growth of the country contributing between 85 and 95 percent of private sector businesses.
Corruption, he said increased the cost of doing business and thereby reduced the profitability of SMEs, negatively affected business growth due to low profitability and ultimately affected national development.
He mentioned incident of corruption in the business setting to include; demand for facilitation or unapproved fees during business registration, unwarranted payments in order to circumvent customs, licenses, taxation, court cases and public procurement, bribery during the clearing of goods from the port among others.
To deal with corruption in SMEs, Mr Okai encouraged businesses to instill the culture of integrity in their workers, report corrupt officials to the appropriate authorities, reward or motivate outstanding workers and punish offenders.
Mrs Stella Ackwerh, Registrar General for Cape Coast and Takoradi who took participants through the changes in the new company’s Act, said the new changes were to ensure that the Registrar of companies became efficient in the performance of its duties of registering and supervising companies.
She advised businesses to duly inform and update the Registrar of Companies on the various changes that had transpired in their businesses within 28 days including; changes made to the beneficial ownership.
She encouraged them to file their annual returns with financial statement after the first eighteen months of incorporation.