Over 500 Ghanaian investors in the diaspora have been sensitized on Ghana’s tax law system.
At a webinar for over 500 Ghanaians and other nationals in the diaspora which was organized by Bank of Africa Ghana (BOA) on the theme: “Ghana, An Ideal Destination for Diaspora Investors” on Friday August 28. Dr. Ali-Nakyea Abdallah, Senior Lecturer at the Ghana School of Law and Director, Ali-Nakyea & Associates, Tax Attorneys, Solicitors and Consultant, walked the diasporans through what non-residents should know with regards to Ghana’s tax laws.
He explained that Section 1(1) of the Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896), says that the income of a person who earns chargeable income or receives a final withholding tax within a year of assessment is subject to income tax. Section 2(1) says what constitutes the chargeable income for a year of assessment is the total assessable income of that person from each employment, business or investment less than the total allowable deductions.
Section 2(2) says from the tenor of the law, where a taxpayer is engaged in more than one source of income, the ascertainment of the chargeable income of each source must be done separately.
He added that for a non-resident person, the only sources of chargeable income will be derived by way of business or investment.
He further explained that, Income from investment include dividends, interest, annuity, natural resource payment, rent and royalty; a gain from the realization of an investment asset; an amount derived as a consideration for accepting a restriction on the capacity of the individual to conduct the investment; a gift received by the person in respect of the investment.
Income from business include Service fees; consideration received in respect of trading stock; a gain from the realization of capital assets and liabilities of the business, a gift received by the person in respect of business, an amount derived that is effectively connected with the business.
For his part, Mr Muctar M. Abbas (Esq), Head of Legal Service and Company Secretary of Bank of Africa (BoA), has told Ghanaians in the diaspora who intend to invest in the country that Ghana has elaborate laws to assist their operations in the local economy.
Mr Abbas also pointed out that Ghana has specialized institutions that are ready to assist them right from the business registration stage to when trading actually commences.
To that end, he said, the investors must clear all doubts in their minds with respect to whether or not Ghana is an ideal place to invest, and go ahead to inject their capital into the oil-producing West African country.
Mr Abbas emphasized that, “these institutions are first and foremost, enablers of investments and business operations in their respective sectors and are mandated to support investments in key sectors of the economy“.
He added “Many of the institutions are also employing technology to expedite transactions and lessen the burden of businesses in their dealings with them. They have also adopted some of the international best practices in the discharge of their functions.
“There are evolving collaborations among the institutions with a view to enhancing service delivery and efficiency. We have a well and elaborate legislation and framework for business registration in Ghana. We also have dedicated and evolving institutions with specific mandates of regulating key business sectors of our economy through registration, licensing and continuous post registration supervision.”
Explaining the registration requirements in Ghana, Mr Abbas told the gathering that the law requires of them to provide particulars of the company; name, object, address, telephone number and email address, as well as particulars of shareholders/subscribers: name /Date of Birth, Profession/Tax Identification Number/Address.
“They are also to provide the particulars of the beneficial owners, the particulars of at least 2 directors, Directors statutory declarations, particulars of external auditors, particulars of company secretary, company’s constitution /regulations. Amount of stated capital and number of shares (ltd)
“Some of the statutory registration requirements of businesses in Ghana include registration with: Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, (GIPC), the Ghana revenue Authority (GRA) Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), Local Authority business,” he said.
Mr. Abbas further encouraged those interested in manufacturing of goods for export to consider engaging the Ghana Free Zones Authority since it was established to promote economic development. They provide a lot of incentives by way of securing the needed permits including work/resident permits from related state agencies.
He concluded by saying that, the Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA) provide logistics like serviced plots with utilities for the running of smooth business operation as well as import duty exemptions on raw materials.
Companies under the GFZA enjoy corporate tax exemption for 10 years and no withholding tax on dividends. There is a special dispensation where they get relief from double taxation, free repatriation of dividends and profit amongst others.