Beggars beware; the tax man is coming after your 'earnings.' The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has hinted that it will soon tax beggars in the street of the northern region.
The agency's GRA’s decision to tax beggars who are considered needy is largely due to what it claims are earnings.
The beggars according to GRA now use alms as business and a hobby and not for survival and therefore it is incumbent on them to pay tax.
The principal revenue officer of the small tax payer office (STO) in Tamale, Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed told Zaa News during a media soirée that the income that beggars earn must be taxed. He explained that by the GRA estimation, beggars income falls in the line with tax threshold.
GRA admitted that taxing beggars will be a difficult task, but was necessary because some people have taken begging as a profession and they must be given a tax stamp.
"People who carry things on their heads to sell (hawkers) be it cloth or consumables, we tax them, how much more people who earn daily," the STO Principal Revenue Officer explained.
"GRA taxes foreigners in town and by law the beggars fall within the taxable threshold," added.
He therefore made a passionate appeal to the media to help GRA in their bit to to rake in more revenue by helping to educate who earn income on a daily basis.
Some beggars Alhaji Yahaya said, are acquiring assets which should have been the case because religiously it was wrong for one to use begging as a profession and we have realized people have taken begging as a profession.
"It is difficult to tax them but if they get understanding that the income that they are earning, they are suppose to pay something to government it will help," the principal STO revenue officer stated.
Even though he couldn’t give an accurate estimate of the daily income of beggars, he believes their earnings were more than enough to be taxed.