National taxes and levies apply in all ten regions of the country.
The only notable national levies in the country are:
the National Health Insurance Levy of 2.5% imposed on certain goods and services
The National Fiscal Stabilisation Levy of 5% imposed on profit before tax of companies and institutions of certain listed sectors of the economy (abolished in 2012) .
The National Health Insurance Levy is administered on the lines of the value added tax.
Taxes consist of the income taxes, sales and service taxes administered by the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and customs and excise duties administered by the Customs Division (CD) of the GRA.
Unless specifically exempted in the law, companies (both resident and non-resident) are required to pay tax on income relating to business and investment derived from, accrued in, brought into or received in Ghana after the necessary adjustment are made. The rate of tax generally is 25%. There are different rates applicable to certain companies (see ‘Incentives’ below). From 2012, mining companies are to pay corporate tax at a rate of 35%.
The corporate entity is taxed separately from its shareholders.
All companies have to file returns four months after their accounting year. It is also required that they make quarterly tax payments on the current year’s income based on the provisional assessment made by the DTRD or the company itself (where the DTRD has granted that permission).
CAPITAL GAINS TAX
Businesses are required to pay tax on gains made on realisation of chargeable assets. Chargeable assets include land (which is not for agriculture in Ghana), buildings, shares, goodwill and business assets, among others.
Chargeable assets do not include trading stock, securities of a company listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange during the first 15 years of the establishment of the Stock Exchange or Classes 1, 2, 3 and 4 assets (e.g. vehicles, plant and machinery, air and sea transport, computers, etc).
The following exemptions apply:
(1) gains derived from mergers, amalgamations or re-organisation of the company where there is continuity of underlying ownership in the asset of at least 25%
(2) capital gains of up to Gh¢ 50.00
(3) where the person uses up the amount received to acquire a replacement asset
(4) transfer of ownership of an asset to a former spouse in divorce settlement or
(5) transfer of asset to spouse or certain relatives.
The capital gain is calculated as the excess of consideration received from the realisation over the cost base of the asset at the time of realisation. The tax is imposed at the rate of 15%.
Attention is now devoted to appreciation in owner capital arising from changes in ownership structure through takeover and acquisition.
BRANCH PROFITS TAX
A branch of any foreign company doing business in Ghana is taxed at 10% on repatriated funds.
SALES TAX/ VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT)
These are indirect taxes paid by consumers on some goods and services to the state through registered individuals or businesses. The rate is 12.5% for businesses and individuals whose turnover for a 12 month period is GH120,000 or above on the value of goods and services. This excludes the National Health Insurance Levy of 2.5%.
Businesses and individuals whose turnover for a 12 month period falls below GH120,000 are to pay a presumptive tax of 6% of their turnover. (No input or output VAT is computed.)There are exemptions specified in the VAT law. Exempt supplies include agricultural products and inputs, printed matter, approved medical and pharmaceutical supplies, transport, financial services, land, building and construction.
Imports are taxable. Exports are zero rated. Under Excise Duty, the rate for Environmental Tax has been reduced from 20% to 15%. Also excise duty rates are to be reduced on a sliding scale to companies using local raw materials as substitutes in the production of excisable goods.
FRINGE BENEFITS TAX
With the exception of dental, medical, and health insurance expenses, all fringe benefits derived from employment are taxable. Benefits relating to accommodation and cars have their own treatment specified in the Tax Law. For all other benefits, the open market value or a reasonable value is added to taxable income and subject to tax. For some services provided to its employees (e.g. food offered in a canteen, office outings, transportation of employees, accident insurances and payments to retirement funds), the employer has the option to pay the income tax on account for the employee.
Taxes are collected by the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies (authorities) from persons doing business within their localities. They also are responsible for the collection of property taxes