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Parliament passes Electronic Transfer Levy Bill

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Ken Ofori-Atta — Finance Minister
Ken Ofori-Atta — Finance Minister

Parliament has passed the Electronic Transfer Levy (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

The bill is to amend the Electronic Transfer Levy Act, 2022 (Act 1075) to reduce the levy on electronic transfers from 1.5 per cent to one per cent.

It will also provide for the filing of returns and the time of payment of the levy and maintains the tax-free daily threshold on the first GH¢100 electronic transaction.

If assented to by President, the levy is projected to help the government rake in GH¢2.2 billion in revenue in 2023.

The bill was presented by a Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, and read the first time in the House on December 20, 2022.

It was, subsequently, referred to the Finance Committee for consideration and report.

Offsetting impact

Moving a motion for the House to adopt the Finance Committee’s report and pass the bill, the Chairman of the committee, Kwaku Kwarteng, told the House that the committee was informed that the reduction in the rate of the levy was expected to lead to an increase in electronic transfers.

That, he said, would offset any losses in revenue resulting from the reduction in the rate of the levy.

Mr Kwarteng said the committee observed that the bill required charging entities to file returns with the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority and provided the timeline for the payment of the levy.

The committee, he said, noted with satisfaction that the bill reduced the rate of the levy to one per cent of the transaction value.

“This will reduce the burden on taxpayers and also encourage enhanced patronage of electronic transfer services,” he said.

Background

The Electronic Transfer Levy was implemented in May 2022 with a modified phased approach, where the charging entities temporarily used their own systems to assess and charge the levy.

In July 2022, the next phase saw the introduction of the Ghana Revenue Authority Common Platform for the assessment of the levy.

The government received several proposals for the review of the levy and worked closely with all stakeholders to evaluate the general impact of the levy in order to decide on the next line of action.

As a result of consultations with stakeholders, the rate of the levy was reduced to one per cent of the transaction value.

Threshold necessary

Seconding the motion, the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, said the Minority did not believe that the GH¢100 threshold should be removed for a number of reasons.

He said the GH¢100 threshold was to protect the vulnerable from paying taxes on electronic transfers.

He, however, said since the GH¢100 exemption was introduced as a threshold, its value till today had been eroded.

With government reducing the tax to one per cent, he said, it was the position of the Minority that the government had removed the one per cent threshold completely.

Supporting the motion, the Deputy Minority Leader, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, said it was the wish of the Minority that the threshold on the E-Levy would be increased to GH¢200 or GH¢300 to protect the vulnerable and the poor.