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14.07.2004 General News

Clergyman opposes taxation of tithes and church collections

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Kumasi, July 14, GNA - A cleric has disagreed with the assertion in certain quarters that churches should be made to pay tax on offerings, tithes and collections.

Reverend Joseph K. Gyimah, founder of the True Light of Christ Church, who expressed the disagreement, explained that since the churches used such funds for the execution of development projects, it would be unfair to tax them.

Rev. Gyimah made the point when he addressed the 34th Anniversary of the True Light of Christ Church at Abrepo, in Kumasi on Tuesday. He said apart from the fact that the funds were meant purposely for church and community development programmes, "members who pay such tithes and collections pay taxes on their income.

Rev. Gyimah, however, made it clear that incomes and salaries of pastors and employees at the various churches and missions should be taxed.

He stated that: "Being men of God does not exclude them from paying tax on their incomes or earnings".

Rev. Gyimah said, since pastors formed part of the Ghanaian society and also enjoyed all the social amenities provided by the government, "they are morally bound to commit their incomes to taxation."

Touching on the future security of pastors, Rev. Gyimah advised churches to encourage pastors and employees of the church to contribute to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) pension scheme.

He said contribution to the SSNIT pension scheme was not confined to only those in the formal sector but a facility that could be used by all, including the clergy.

Rev. Gyimah observed that the failure of some churches to guarantee the security of their employees had often resulted in such employees living wretched lives when they finally went on retirement.

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