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Religious bodies schooled on taxation

Cape Coast, May 21, Ghanadot/GNA – The Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and the Value Added Tax (VAT) Service on Thursday jointly organized a day’s seminar to educate religious bodies on their tax obligation to the State.

The seminar, which brought together Pastors and Imams exposed the participants to the obligations of religious bodies in Ghana’s taxation system.

Speaking on the theme: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” in Cape Coast, Mr Boakye Yiadom, Chief Inspector of Operations of the IRS Head Office in Accra, told the religious authorities that they were to pay taxes on all income generating activities that were not related to their core religious functions.

He enumerated some of the income generating activities carried out by Pastors to include the sale of holy water, anointing oil and books authored by them stressing that all these are for done for the personal benefits of the individual Pastors.

Other activities that attract tax are consultation fees charged by Pastors for counseling, gifts given to them and other enterprises owned by the Church, he said and cautioned; “I am reminding all Pastors that they will account for all their tax obligations before God” and urged the Clergy to use the pulpits to educate their congregation on the need to pay taxes.

Mr Kwasi Bobie Ansah, Chief Inspector in-charge of Public Relations and Tax Education of the IRS, reminded the public that taxes remained one of the main sources of government’s generated revenue.

He assured the public that tax administrators in the country were committed to fairness, transparency and accountability and would therefore leave no stone unturned to ensure that enough revenue were generated to facilitate the development of the country.

Touching on taxable gifts, Mr Ansah indicated that any gift in a form of a permanent or temporary structure, transportation, foreign currency received from persons other than a spouse or family relations were taxable under the Internal Revenue Act of 2000, Act 592 section 72.

He warned that tax evasion was an offence punishable by law.

Reverend Isaac Archibald Hawkson, Senior Pastor of Calvary Charismatic Centre, who chaired the seminar, told Christians that the Bible expects them to respect authority and to fulfill their obligation to the state.


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