The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has denied claims by its Principal Revenue Chief at the Small Tax Payer Office the Northern region that it intends to tax street beggars as part of its nationwide drive to rake in more revenue for the state.
Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed told journalists in the Northern region Monday that some individuals occupying the streets are now harvesting a lot of daily earnings that fall within the tax threshold.
“Those who carry things on their heads to sell (hawkers) be it cloth or consumables, we will tax them, how much more people who earn daily,” the Revenue Officer said.
“GRA taxes foreigners in town and by law the beggars fall within the taxable threshold,” Alhaji Mohammed stressed, adding that those into alms taking as a form of business and a “hobby” should be ready to pay tax on their earnings.
He said some of the beggars have acquired assets and are making the “begging business” attractive.
But in a statement to clarify the matter Monday evening, the GRA said: ” The income tax Act 2015 (Act 896) states that the chargeable income of a person for a year of assessment is the total of the assessable income of that person for the year for each employment, or investment.
“The act also indicates that when a person has no chargeable income or when the income is below the taxable threshold, the person is not expected to pay tax and therefore does not file tax returns”.
The statement further stressed: ” With regards to the above, therefore, it must be stated that alms received by beggers on the street does not fall within the taxable threshold. They, therefore, do not pay tax on the alms received.
“The Authroity wishes to inform the general public with regards to the position of the While GRA encourages staff to actively mobilise revenue for the state , the Authority does not encourage them to pursue taxes that may appropriately be considered as nuisance”.