TAX THE CHURCHES …EP Church suggests to gov’t …. Says they are more of business organisations than religious bodies
The Synod Clerk of South Volta Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church has appealed to the government to rope churches into the tax net.
Reverend Frank Anyidoho explained that churches are more of business organisations than religious institutions.
In the light of this, the EP Synod Clerk said the incomes of churches should be taxable in expanding the tax net.
To him, many churches, as well as Christians, have deviated from their core functions of propagating the Gospel and following the teachings of Christ, which include showing love and care for the oppressed and needy in society.
Therefore, the increasing cycles of crime in Ghana, in his view, should be blamed on the churches for their deviation.
Addressing the media after the opening of the 4th South Volta Presbytery Synod of the church at Sogakope, South Tongu District, Reverend Frank Anyidoho said: “Most people have identified [the] formation of churches as the most common way to make money, which has become the order of the day.
“Those who allegedly wish to get rich quick have no other alternative than to establish mushroom churches. Therefore, the only way for government to control the formation of more churches, with the aim of making money, is to impose taxes on the church.”
Reverend Anyidoho noted that the material wealth that most of the founders of the ‘mushroom’ churches love to amass is misleading the congregation, hence the societal rot Ghana is witnessing today.
“Some of the churches have caused the failure of our society, because their intention is not to genuinely win people to Christ, but to manipulate them and collect their money.”
The EP Synod Clerk observed that many churches have been sharply divided, due to financial misunderstandings among the leaders, a development, he said, is contributing to the desire of many youth to get rich quick.
In order to check the influx of more ‘mushroom’ churches, Reverend Frank Anyidoho said imposing taxes on the incomes churches make would lead to the folding up of ‘small, small’ churches, whose main objective is to enrich themselves.
“The 'small, small' churches will fold up, because they will default in paying their taxes, and so the government will be forced to close them down. They are doing business, and every business entity needs to pay tax to the government.
“Failing to pay tax, and the eventual closing down of the church, will sanitise our society, as the rot will be minimised,” he underscored.
The Paramount Chief of Tefle Traditional Area, Togbe Nakakpo Dugbaza VIII, who was the Special Guest for the occasion, commended the EP Church for its numerous contributions to national development, which include agriculture, education and the promotion of quality health delivery.
In order to ensure the rapid development in the country, Togbe Dugbaza VIII called for effective collaboration between the church and traditional rulers.
He underscored how unfortunate it had become for some Christians to regard chiefs as idol worshippers, thus tagging the latter as evil.
He said: “The time has come for Christians to see the chieftaincy institution as one of the recognised institutions of God, and so they, Christians, should accord the needed respect to their leaders, including chiefs.”
The Tefle Paramount Chief noted that society can only thrive on trust, truth and love for one another.
In the light of this, he said it behooves the leaders to demonstrate high levels of accountability to the people they lead, to enable them have trust and confidence in them as leaders, saying: ‘The same way that people should accord the needed respect for leaders, in order to promote mutual respect and trust.”
From Samuel Agbewode, Sogakope..