Aggressive targeted policy on E-commerce needed – Tax Consultant

Mr William Kofi Owusu Demitia, a tax consultant, has called for an aggressive targeted policy to boost e-commerce among Ghanaians.

Wider subscription to e-commerce, he noted, provided solution to the problem of identifying taxpayers and ability to track their income and know whether they are fulfilling tax obligations.

Data generation on e-commerce platforms, he said, was key to tracking the income of vendors especially where information such as Tax Identification Number could be requested upon registration.

“The biggest problem is what we do with the data and how policies and tax authorities areliaising with data aggregators to get the information,” he said.

Mr Demitia, who is a lecturer at the School of Law, University of Ghana, was speaking as a panellist at the Graphic Business Breakfast Meeting held on the theme, “Integration of E-Service into Our Economy: Implications for Economic Growth and Quality of Life”.

 He called for a review of laws on Withholding taxes where only persons who make payments have withholding obligations if certain threshold are satisfied.

 This, he said was contrary to legislation in other jurisdictions that allowed withholding agents to include agents who had custody of the money.

“In this case, you could have the data aggregator whose app is being used and able to bridge the customer and service provider as withholding agent for the appropriate tax to be deducted at source and paid,” he said.

Madam Adoma Owusu, the Country Manager for Visa, who chaired the event, shared a finding of a study conducted by her outfit which showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of digital commerce in the Sub-region.

She called for the provision of seamless channels and options for payments, need for seamless cross-border transactions, catering for local merchants and keeping customers at the centre of designing e-commerce platforms, among others.

Mr Ato Afful, Managing Director, Graphic Communications Group, said the integration of e-service into the economy offered the country access to a global market with huge commercial value.

 With Information and Communication Technology (ICT) being the bedrock of e-service, he said, there was an implication on job creation where wealth could be created through the deployment of ICT for e-services.

 “This marketplace obviously gives local Ghanaian businesses the potential to tap global market without necessarily staging physical presence abroad,” he said.

 He also noted that the adoption of e-service especially within the public sector would curb corruption by promoting transparency and improving control measures to safeguard resources. -GNA

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