Law of Taxation in Ghana (1)

The first edition of the book ‘LAW OF TAXATION IN GHANA’ was published to complement the then existing references and texts used by professional law students in the Ghana Law School, training departments of the In revenue agencies, Chartered Institute of Taxation (CITG), and other educational institutions with taxation as part of their curricula.

That edition was also expected to serve as a point of reference for the courts, tax payers and their professional advisers as well as tax administrators.

In the preface to the first edition of the book, published in 2006, the author served a note of caution that readers should anticipate possible changes after the publication of that edition.

Indeed, as a fiscal tool for governments, tax laws witness frequent reviews, with almost every annual economic policy and budget statement introducing certain changes in tax law.

Consequently, a second edition became necessary.

Since the publication of the second edition, major changes have occurred in Ghana’s tax laws and system of tax administration since the passing of the Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592).

In 2004, the new High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules (C.I. 47), came into force. The Rules provide that tax matters be handled in the Commercial Division of the High Court as part of the Commercial Court’s jurisdiction.

Provision is also made in the Rules for tax appeals and review of administrative actions, including acts of the revenue agencies.

However, with the establishment of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the various tax legislations have been revised and/or amended while in October 2013, tax courts, including a Tax Appeal Court, were set up.

More importantly, Ghana is now classified as a Lower Middle Income country, a status that will require increased domestic revenue due to a reduction in foreign donor financial support.

It is in the light of these developments and for the book to continue to be relevant to all tax practitioners, lawyers, tax lecturers and students of tax law and taxation, that the authors have responded with yet another edition.

This new edition of the book ‘LAW OF TAXATION IN GHANA’ introduces discussions on the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 2013 (Act 865) and the Free Zones Act, 1995 (Act 504) which govern investment incentives for certain sectors of the Ghanaian economy, with tax implications which require the attention of tax practitioners, tax administrators, tax policy makers, researchers in taxation, the courts and students of tax law.

It is also expected to be of immense benefits to the Tax Policy Unit of the Ministry of Finance in its policy initiatives while tax administrators of the GRA will also find it useful in the resolution of tax disputes as well as in their decision-making on objections, taking into consideration the legal implications of their administrative actions and/or inactions in order to forestall unnecessary costs incurred in tax litigation and adverse outcomes against the GRA.

The book is divided into six (6) parts, with part one containing Chapter one, which provides a background and introduction to a number of tax concepts and principles. The chapter also provides information on the rules for the interpretation of tax legislation and the sources of tax law in Ghana.

Part two (2) comprises Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 which address a number of issues on substantive tax law of direct taxes, including income, capital gains and gift taxes, and how such taxes are imposed, ascertained and computed under Ghana’s legislation.

Part two also addresses important tax principles in contemporary tax law jurisprudence such as tax evasion and avoidance.

The third part of the book contains Chapter 7 which discusses issues of tax administration and procedure, and the role of the courts in taxation.

Under part four is Chapter 8 which provides an international dimension to tax jurisdiction in Ghana, with particular focus on Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs).

Part five is devoted to a number of basic principles of Value Added Tax (VAT) which are captured under Chapter five while Part six, comprising Chapters 10 and 11, address issues of investment promotion in Ghana, particularly investment and tax incentives, and their related dispute resolution procedures.

To guide students of tax law and facilitate their studies as well as assist them in their revision for their examinations, practice questions have been provided at the end of each chapter.

One of the authors of the book, Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor, is a Ghanaian politician and an academician with a PhD in Law. He is a member of the ruling political party, the National Democratic Congress.

Even though Dr Kunbuor is generally known to be a politician, he has also made immense contributions to the academia. Apart from his field of academic experience including socio-legal research in Law and Development, specializing in law and Economic Relations, Dr Kunbuor also has extensive knowledge in Law and Taxation.

Dr Kunbuor once worked as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, responsible for holding seminars for undergraduate students in constitutional and Administrative Law as well as Law and Development programmes, among others.

Dr Kunbuor has received several awards including the British Chevening Scholarship and the University of Warwick Overseas Students Award (OSSA) Doctoral Award. Others are distinguished Performance as Ranking Member of the Defence /Interior Committee of the Third and Fourth Republic of Ghana as well as Minister of the Year 2010 award.

He has nine publications to his credit and was once a part time lecturer at the Ghana School of Law, he has also been a director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Ghana; responsible for operations, general investigations and complaints of Human Rights violations.

Dr Kunbuor has served as a Minister of Health, Minister for the Interior, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Majority Leader in Parliament and, currently, Minister for Defence.

Due to his expertise and knowledge in Law, he has served on several committees while in Parliament including the ranking member for Finance, ranking member of Defence /Interior Parliamentary Committees, Member of the Constitutional, Parliamentary and Legal Committees, Subsidiary Legislation Committee and the Judiciary and Standing Order Committees.

Dr Kunbuor was partnered by Mr Abdallah Ali-Nakyea in writing the book. Mr Ali-Nakyea is the Managing Consultant of WTS Ghana, a firm of Tax Attorneys and Solicitors in Accra. Mr Ali-Nakyea has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) Degree in Economics, a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Degree in Economics and a Post-First Degree Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree, all from the University of Ghana, Legon.He also has a Professional Certificate in Law from the Ghana School of Law and is a Member of the Ghana Bar Association. Mr Ali-Nakyea has over twenty-two (22) years of working experience in Taxation, Financial Management Reviews & Investigations, and Finance.Mr Ali-Nakyea is a part-time lecturer in the Law of Taxation and Legal Accountancy at the Ghana School of Law, part-time lecturer in the Law of Taxation at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School. He also lectures in Taxation subjects at the HENT Financial Training Centre, an Evening School teaching courses of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, as well as that of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana).He is a VAT Expert, an Examiner in Economics and Taxation for the Chartered Institute of Taxation and a Consultant/Lecturer at GIMPA, where he lectures in Economics, Taxation and Accounting, among others. Key Experiences of Mr Ali-Nakyea include Investment and Tax Planning and Update, Tax Audit and Financial Audit, Expatriate and Senior Management Payroll and Executive Search and Recruitment.The others are Receivership and Liquidation, Mergers and Acquisitions, Due Diligence, Strategic Corporate Planning, Investment and Corporate Advisory, Training and Publications and the Preparation of Business Plans and Strategic Plans.Let me be quick to state here and then that information about the authors is not exhaustive and that several important details about their academic and professional achievements have been left out for lack of space.There is no doubt in my mind, however, that even this abridged version of their profile is enough to speak about the nature and quality of the book—a book on taxation, written by tax consultants, tax lawyers and lecturers in the Law of Taxation.

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