Ghana Warns Operators To Pay Tax Or Risk Licence Removal

August 10, 2023
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Ghana has reminded gambling operators and consumers about an incoming tax change, warning that there will be fines for non-compliance.

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Ghana has reminded gambling operators and consumers about an incoming tax change, warning that there will be fines for non-compliance.

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) reminded Ghanaians on social media that from August 15, “all winnings in gambling, betting, lottery, and games of chance” are subject to a 10 percent withholding tax.

The tax change “does not include the amount invested in staking or playing the games”, the GRA clarified, meaning the tax will be on the winnings after each stake.

An existing 15 percent value added tax (VAT) rate on each stake is no longer valid.

Edward Gyambrah, the head of the domestic tax revenue division at the GRA, warned at a press conference that gambling companies failing to comply with the new policy will face enforcement action, including the possible withdrawal of their licences.

“As you have been appointed as withholding agents, the obligation is on you to withhold. If you fail to do that, with the interactions we had with you and with the support of the gaming commission, you can be assured that your licences will be withdrawn,” Gyamerah said.

The GRA expects the change will help raise around GH1.2bn (€97m) in its first year and expects it to rise incrementally over the next few years.

Amendments to how gambling is taxed were included in the Income Tax Amendment Act 2023.

However, a poll held by the GRA on social media had more than 100 participants and revealed more than 40 percent of people had either not heard of the change or were unsure of its details.

The changes to the gambling tax are part of a country-wide tax reform aimed at reducing the country's $58bn debt, $5.5bn of which is owed to foreign governments and their state banks.

These plans to increase government revenue are key to encouraging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide a much-needed $3bn bailout.

Last year, the Ghana Revenue Authority confirmed to VIXIO GamblingCompliance the introduction of a new digital scheme to collect taxes from the gambling industry to prevent leakage. However, data on its impact is not available yet.

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