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High Court rules in favor of GRA for slapping tax liability on MTN Ghana

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The audit covered all parts of MTN's operations, including Input Value Added Tax claims for products and services acquired by MTN Ghana, Value Added Tax on services imported by the firm, and Input Value Added Tax claims for office premises built by the telecom giant. MTN Ghana, which thinks it has fulfilled all of its tax duties, filed to court to have the GRA judgement annulled. As a result, the business requested the following reliefs:

In a GH19 million tax obligation action taken against the Ghana Revenue Authority by Scancom PLC, the owners of MTN Ghana, the Commercial Division of the High Court in Accra found in favour of the authority.

Scancom PLC had taken GRA to court, claiming that the authority had made a legal error and behaved arbitrarily in issuing the tax responsibility order on the firm from January 2014 to December 2017.

The Ghana Revenue Authority launched a comprehensive tax examination of MTN Ghana from January 2014 to December 2018.

The audit covered all parts of MTN’s operations, including Input Value Added Tax claims for products and services acquired by MTN Ghana, Value Added Tax on services imported by the firm, and Input Value Added Tax claims for office premises built by the telecom giant.

MTN Ghana, which thinks it has fulfilled all of its tax duties, filed to court to have the GRA judgement annulled.

As a result, the business requested the following reliefs:

a. An order overturning the Respondent’s decision to levy an extra GHS8,793,598.00 in Value Added Tax and a penalty and interest of GHS10,933,119 on imported services used by the Appellant in its telecommunications company.

b. An order overturning the Respondent’s decision to levy an extra GHC6,379,483.00 Ghana Education Trust Fund Levy and National Health Insurance Levy, as well as a penalty and interest of GHC2,566,124.00 on imported services used by the Appellant for its company.

c. An order quashing the sections of the Current Tax Assessment related to the headings “Disputed Assessment” and reversing Respondent’s Objection Decision in relation to those parts.

d. Any further order(s) required by the justice of the case.

Judgement 

The court presided over by Her Ladyship Justice Afi Agbanu Kudomor on November 9, 2023, ruled that GRA did not commit an error in imposing the tax duty on MTN Ghana.

Below are excerpts of the judgement:

Because of the combined impact of the aforementioned provisions of the Value Added Tax Act, 2013 (Act 870) for imported services, Value Added Tax will not apply unless the imported services were used to make Taxable supply (telecommunication company). However, Value Added Tax will apply if the imported services are used to make an Exempt supply (mobile money business).

Respondent was thus correct in applying the definition in section 65 of the Value Added Tax Act, 2013 (Act 870) to the transactions in question in determining the total cost of imported services and allocating the contribution to total revenue between Exempt and Taxable Supplies.

Respondent did not err in law and did not behave arbitrarily in imposing Value Added Tax liability on the Appellant for Imported Services from January 2014 to December 2017 due to the Appellant’s position as a Partial Exempt Trader during the assessment period.

The terms of the two revised statutes clearly show that the National Health Insurance (Amendment) Act, 2018 (Act 971) and the Ghana Education Trust Fund Act, 2018 (Act 972) are distinct from the Value Added Tax Act, 2018 (Act 870).

As a result, the two statutes impose a tax on the import of services that are not entitled to input tax deduction.

The two statutes impose a tax or charge on the importation of services that are not entitled to input tax deduction, regardless of what the imported service was intended to be utilised for during the review period.

The Value Added Tax rate of 12.5% was inapplicable to the Appellant for the relevant periods in 2018 (August 2018 to December 2018), but the Ghana Educational Trust Fund Levy and National Health Insurance Levy, each of 2.5%, were applicable on the imported services by Appellant, regardless of whether these imported services were used to produce Taxable or Exempt supplies.

As a result, the Respondent did not commit a legal error when it imposed the National Health Insurance Levy and the Ghana Education Trust Fund Levy (along with interest and penalties) on the Appellant’s Imported Services from August 2018 to December 2018, regardless of whether they were applied to Taxable or Exempt services. For these grounds, the current Tax Appeal fails. There will be no cost hierarchy. Each party is responsible for its own expenses.

Click here to read the full judgement on the MTN Ghana vs GRA case

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Ghanaian socialite Ama Governor finally called to the Bar

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However, the Registrar's notification indicated that the presence of one's name is not conclusive and final proof of enrolment. Ama has been in a year-long struggle with the General Legal Council (GLC) since a concerned citizen submitted a complaint in November 2022. This complaint claimed that she had engaged in behaviour that was "unbecoming of a bar applicant."

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Ghanaian celebrity Elorm Ababio, often known as Ama Governor, will be among the attorneys inducted into the Ghana Bar Association this year.

Ama Governor’s name appeared on a list of entrants signed by Yaw Oppong, the Director of the Ghana Law School.

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However, the Registrar’s notification indicated that the presence of one’s name is not conclusive and final proof of enrolment.

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Ama has been in a year-long struggle with the General Legal Council (GLC) since a concerned citizen submitted a complaint in November 2022.


This complaint claimed that she had engaged in behaviour that was “unbecoming of a bar applicant.”

As a consequence of this complaint, the GLC halted the process of summoning Ama to the bar.

She fiercely denied the claims of impropriety, claiming she had been treated unfairly throughout the affair.

In a surprising turn of events, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) representative’s report to the General Legal Council at the 2022/2023 bar conference held in Cape Coast revealed that Ama Governor has been given the opportunity to complete the application process for her bar call, which is scheduled for the October/November 2023 sessions.

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Information Minister defends SSNIT’s investment in Rock City Hotel

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In the past, SSNIT effectively exited unprofitable ventures, allowing other shareholders to take control. According to the Information Minister, a Ghanaian entrepreneur with a successful track record in hospitality has indicated interest in acquiring SSNIT's stake in Rock City Hotel, which has over 800 rooms and employs many young people. The entrepreneur intends to build infrastructure, create more employment, and make substantial contributions to Ghana's economy, notably in the hotel industry, which is expected to rise to $5 million yearly. Despite satisfying regulations and going through a competitive procedure, others contend that the minister's involvement creates a conflict of interest.

Fatimatu Abubakar, Minister of Information, has shed light on Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) investments during a familiarisation trip at Multimedia Group Limited.

SSNIT, which was formed to offer pensions to participants, invests contributions to create cash for beneficiaries.

However, SSNIT’s venture into hospitality businesses, including hotels and guest homes, has created criticism.

In the past, SSNIT effectively exited unprofitable ventures, allowing other shareholders to take control.

According to the Information Minister, a Ghanaian entrepreneur with a successful track record in hospitality has indicated interest in acquiring SSNIT’s stake in Rock City Hotel, which has over 800 rooms and employs many young people.

The entrepreneur intends to build infrastructure, create more employment, and make substantial contributions to Ghana’s economy, notably in the hotel industry, which is expected to rise to $5 million yearly.

Despite satisfying regulations and going through a competitive procedure, others contend that the minister’s involvement creates a conflict of interest.

However, the entrepreneur was not a cabinet member when the procedure began. Politics should not deprive a talented Ghanaian of the opportunity to contribute to their country’s prosperity.

She also stated that Ghanaians should encourage local investment and assist talented individuals who can drive economic progress and generate jobs.

This allows us to encourage tourism, hospitality, and economic growth, which will help our country in the long run. Let us create a culture that promotes local investment and celebrates Ghanaian success stories.

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4-year-old manoeuvres father’s car and slams into an electric pole

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To satisfy his curiosity, the four-year-old manoeuvred the car, leading it to collide with an electrical pole. According to eyewitnesses, the vehicle collided with the pole head-on, mangled the whole front end of the automobile before coming to a stop. Concerned spectators raced to the scene to carefully remove the youngster from the automobile. Fortunately, the event did not result in any injuries to the youngster.

A four-year-old youngster barely avoided harm after driving his father’s automobile unaccompanied in Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Central area.

The event happened when the toddler was left alone in a black SUV with the plate number GS 8757-10.

The boy’s father allegedly parked on the shoulder of the road and walked out to attend to other business.

To satisfy his curiosity, the four-year-old manoeuvred the car, leading it to collide with an electrical pole.

According to eyewitnesses, the vehicle collided with the pole head-on, and mangled the whole front end of the automobile before coming to a stop.

Concerned spectators raced to the scene to carefully remove the youngster from the automobile.

Fortunately, the event did not result in any injuries to the youngster.

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