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Ghana Government and Ghana Revenue Authority Accused of Illegally Taxing Intra-Account Transfers


The government of Ghana and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) are facing allegations of illegally charging taxes on transfers between accounts owned by the same individual or organisation. This practice is said to be in direct contravention of the E-Levy Act, which was established to regulate digital transactions in the country.

The E-Levy Act, passed in March 2022, was designed to impose a tax on electronic transactions exceeding GHS100 (approximately $15) per day. The primary objective of this legislation was to broaden the tax net, increase government revenue, and promote financial inclusion. However, recent reports suggest that the GRA and the government have been extending the tax to intra-account transfers, which should be exempt according to the Act.

Intra-account transfers refer to transactions made between accounts owned by the same person. These transfers could include money transfers between a personal savings account, current account and a mobile money account, or even the movement of funds within a single mobile money account. The E-Levy Act explicitly states that such transactions should not be subject to the tax.

For example, if you are sending money to your own account, you will not be charged the E-Levy provided your bank or mobile money accounts are linked with your Ghana Card PIN. For example, a transfer from Dakurah’s AirtelTigo wallet to her MTN wallet or from his Fidelity bank account to his prudential bank account or from his CalBank savings account to his current or investment account will not attract the Levy because Dakurah has linked all accounts with her Ghana Card.

Critics argue that this alleged practice of taxing intra-account transfers is not only a violation of the E-Levy Act but also an infringement on the rights of Ghanaian citizens. A cross-section of residents and businesses in Wa who have been victims of the wrongful taxation contend that the government and GRA are using this unlawful method to generate more revenue than what was initially intended by the Act.

In response to these allegations, the government and GRA have not yet issued an official statement. However, concerned citizens and financial experts have called for transparency and accountability from the authorities, urging them to adhere to the provisions of the E-Levy Act.

As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen whether the government and GRA will address these concerns and amend their approach to taxation. In the meantime, Ghanaians are encouraged to remain vigilant and report any instances of unlawful taxation to the relevant authorities.

The potential consequences of this alleged misconduct extend beyond financial implications for individuals. The government's credibility and the public's trust in its institutions is severely impacted. It is crucial for the authorities to act swiftly and fairly to resolve this issue and ensure the proper implementation of the E-Levy Act.

According to information from the Ghana revenue authority such as these below are exempted from the E-Levy, but that seems not to be so:

 The following transfers are excluded from the Levy:

Cumulative transfer of GHS 100 per day made by the same person using mobile money: Everyone will be able to send up to GHS100 a day without paying the Levy.

Transfer between accounts owned by the same person: If you are sending money to your own account, you will not be charged the E-Levy provided your bank or mobile money accounts are linked with your Ghana Card PIN. For example, a transfer from Naa’s AirtelTigo wallet to her MTN wallet or from her Fidelity bank account to her prudential bank account or from her Cal Bank savings account to her current or investment account will not attract the Levy because Naa has linked all accounts with her Ghana Card.

Transfers for the payment of taxes, fees, and charges: Any payment of taxes, fees or charges made using the Ghana.gov platform or other designated Government of Ghana payment systems will not attract the Levy.

Electronic Clearing of Cheques: Clearing of cheques by banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions such as Savings and Loans companies, etc. will not attract the Levy.

Specified Merchant Payments: Transfers made through an electronic payment service (mobile money, bank application, FinTech platform, etc.) to a commercial establishment which is registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority for the purposes of Income Tax or Value Added Tax are excluded.

Transfers among principal, agent, and master-agent accounts: To avoid charging the Levy multiple times, transfers among principal, agent, and master-agent are excluded from the Levy.

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