Part of the digitalization agenda being pursued to promote voluntary tax compliance, Ghanaian authorities have created an e-commerce and digital services registration portal to collect an 18.5% tax from non-resident companies such as Netflix, Alibaba, Amazon, Google, and online betting platforms, starting 1 April 2022.
The tax is expected to raise around ¢2.7bn ($372m) for the state in the first year.
The Ghanaian government will require all e-commerce and digital platforms without physical presence in the country to file tax returns and pay monthly taxes just as local businesses. “The idea is to make all institutions pay the tax regardless of where they operate from,” said commissioner-general of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), reverend Dr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah.
"We have an arrangement with the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to block payment to goods and service providers if they fail to comply with their tax obligations," he added.
Ken Ofori-Atta, the Ghanaian minister of finance, had complained about the tax evasion by many companies in the country.
It is challenging to see how the registration portal would restrict companies that are not based in Ghana, but which have clients or subscribers there. The only way to apply pressure would be to cut off the service in question on Ghanaian territory, which would penalize the customer.