Churches engaged in profit- making businesses must fulfill their tax obligations to the state or face the full rig-ours of the law, says the Commissioner-General of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Emmanuel Kofi Nti .
According to him, many church leaders or ‘owners’ leverage on their churches and establish other businesses apart from the church which generate enough money for them, therefore such businesses will be taxed just like others whose businesses are not affiliated to any religious organization.
“If a church is doing any business apart from just having a congregation, that business will get an income so there should be taxes on them. We’re not taxing the church, no, we’re taxing the other businesses done aside the church itself. Most churches have schools, shops and all that. Those businesses are in the name of the church but they are also businesses on their own. So long as they get income, they should pay taxes as well.” Mr Nti.
The Commissioner-General also added that, churches should also pay construction tax when building their temples and worship centers. He advised workers at the church to make sure they pay their income tax.
”Jesus Christ instructed His followers to pay tax and obey the laws of the land. So religious bodies that operate profit making businesses must respect the laws governing the country,” he added.
Mr Nti however reveal that, if pastors and religious leaders are able to live lavishly by having not less than three cars and living in expensive houses, he does not see any reason why paying taxes should be much of a problem to them.