Tax Social Media & Online Businesses: Dep. Finance Minister

Dr. Alex Ampaabeng, the deputy minister of finance, has suggested taxing internet traders on social media in order to stimulate the economy.

He pointed out that these businesses—both domestic and foreign—make a substantial profit from their Ghanaian clientele, highlighting the importance of taxes.

Dr. Ampaabeng mentioned a number of possible revenue streams for Ghana in an interview with Bernard Avle on Channel One TV‘s The Point of View, including internet ventures and content production firms.

The deputy minister questioned why social media sites like Facebook and Youtube, which frequently carry adverts, are exempt from Ghanaian tax laws while other foreign businesses doing business there are subject to taxes.

He claims that internet trading companies get money from the sales of their goods and services, and these social media companies make money from the ads they show.

He listed virtual marketplaces like Jiji, Jumia, and Tonaton, which he said are larger than any physical marketplace in Ghana.

What he said:

“I can’t think of a country which has not gotten a digital service tax system of some sort, so Ghana is long overdue. Just to make an example so that people will appreciate where I’m coming from. Go to Youtube and play a video, within one or two minutes, you are going to watch about two, or three adverts.

“What it tells you is that Facebook or Youtube is making profits right here in Ghana. Go to your Facebook account, and you are going to see a number of adverts on your right, left. What it is telling you is that Facebook is making profits right here in Ghana and not being taxed. Meanwhile, there are companies operating in Ghana, for jurisdiction reasons, of course, that are being taxed.

“So then, it comes to the question of the application of our tax laws. Revenues generated in Ghana are subject to taxes. We have Facebook, TikTok and all those players, these are digital platform owners.”

He also suggested working with the government to register and authenticate these internet trade businesses in an effort to combat cybercrime.

“There are conversations ongoing, I wouldn’t want to pre-empt anything, maybe in the future, it might not be anytime soon, what I would like to see, is a Ghana where people who are earning all forms of profits in the country are subject to taxes. People who are trading online to Ghanaian residents, people who are generating revenue from Ghana are allowed to pay taxes,”

“We can have a system where the government engages these operators, so individuals will submit their Ghana Card and are registered and verified.”

Read Also: Local Manufacturers Oppose 5% Tax On Plastic Products 

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