The President and Founder of policy think tank IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe, has added his voice to the move by government to make creative artists pay income tax.
In a Facebook post titled “The Tango Over Creative Arts Taxation- Why Government Must Hasten Slowly” Franklin pointed out that the creative sector is disorganised and that proper measures must be instituted before the payment of tax starts.
“I understand why the government thought it should tax the works of creative artiste, musicians, comedians, actors and allies in that space. The government has numerous promises to fulfil and there is no much money-so everything that moves must be chased to tax,” he wrote.
[contextly_sidebar id=”F0hG3KDuj4YhdI5OTmdcLQF2ZSardqe5″]”However, the creative industry itself is not well organised to understand why they should pay rents to the state except of course, those who are loosely connected to collect royalties from their works and get mega gigs to perform musically or make appearances in popular films,” Franklin added.
He also noted that the parameters used by the Ghana Revenue Authority to tax the creatives are inappropriate.
“Then again, the methods deployed by the Ghana Revenue Authority to calculate the net worth of our creative artiste is dead wrong , just as the purported tax is supposed to be retrospective. You cannot base tax calculations on the number of followers artiste have on social media, just as it is wrong to assume a tax based on flashy photos shared on social media. So, when Martha Ankomah was allegedly slapped with a hefty tax based on a supposed net worth of $200,000, she was right to ask, ‘ if I was worth that amount, would I be in rented accommodation?'” he stated.
This comes on the back of a recent statement by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Abelema Afeku, that people in the creative arts sector would soon receive education on their tax obligations so they start paying income tax on their earnings.
According to the Minister, workshops will be organised from now to December, 2018, so the artists are thoroughly educated on the modalities involved in the payment of tax.
In the wake of this, creative artists have been granted some grace period of exemption from tax payment until they understand what the whole system entails especially as regards their trade.
She said the ministry “has agreed with the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) that until such time that artists have been educated on their tax obligations, they will be given a moratorium.”
The statements adds: “In this connection, the Ministry announces for the information of all players in the creative arts sector that it has received assurances from the Ministry of Finance and the GRA to the effect that between now and end of December 2018, workshops will be organized to educate artistes on their tax obligations, generally, and why it is the civic responsibility of every Ghanaian who earns an income to pay tax.”
By: Kwame Dadzie | citinewsroom.com | Ghana