A Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Ghana, William Kofi Owusu Demitia has made proposals that would enable government generate adequate income from e-commerce.

“It’s all about identifying taxpayers and tracking their earnings,” Mr. Demitia said.

Speaking at the Graphic Business Breakfast meeting held on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, he noted that “two things plague our ability to generate enough revenue in this part of our world: our problem to identify task payers and our ability to track their income to find out whether they are fulfilling their tax obligations.

“Quite on the contrary, I believe e-commerce provides us a perfect solution to address that. Today, in the comfort of your home you can go on any ride sharing app and order that someone picks you up to place.

“For you to be able to do that, you must register with the app, for a driver to be certified he must be certified to drive you, that person must be registered with that app. What we are seeing here is that data is being generated and so the issue of identifying a taxpayer if the person is operating on an e-commerce platform is largely addressed.

“The biggest problem is what do we do with the data and how authorities are liaising with these data aggregators to get the information?” Mr Demitia asked.

The Graphic Business Breakfast meeting is a platform for discussing critical and relevant topics that have the potential to contribute to the economic, social growth, and development of Ghana.

The theme for the first edition of in 2022 was “Integration of e-services into the economy; the implication for economic growth, and qualities of life.”

The Lecturer believes the issue about not being able to track the income of vendors who operate e-commerce services can be resolved if “we could add another layer which will enable a vendor or as a person providing an e-commerce service add their Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and data can instantly go to the GRA and they can trace how much income the vendor makes instantly.  

Meanwhile, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced that it is preparing to pilot an electronic-commerce, gaming and bet taxes in April, 2022.

The GRA Commissioner-General, Rev. Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah who announced this, believes the introduction of these taxes coupled with digitisation initiatives and the introduction of Electronic Transaction Levy would complement efforts in achieving the GH¢80.3 billion revenue target for 2022.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the GRA’s 2022 Management Retreat at the Volta Serene Hotel in Ho, the Commissioner General said a system has been designed to ensure that any e-commerce, betting and gaming platform that operate on the Ghanaian internet space is tax compliant.

“There will be vigorous efforts to tax players in the e-commerce market. This sector has been a challenge over the years for the Authority, but we have put in place measures that will enable us to make inroads into the sector this year”, he said.

Dr. Owusu-Amoah added that “the Authority is having a number of engagements with the Gaming Commission, Ghana and operators in the gaming and betting industry to ensure that the right taxes are paid by players in the industry.”