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13.08.2005 Regional News

Church workers urged to honour their tax obligation to the state


Koforidua, Aug.13, GNA- The Chief Inspector of Taxes of the Internal Revenue Service(IRS), Koforidua, Mr George Lamptey has explained that though Churches, as institutions were exempted from payment of taxes, their employees, were by law required to pay tax on their earnings.

He said pastors and all workers in the churches who received salary were required to pay taxes on what they earned on the services they rendered to the church.

Mr. Lamptey was speaking at a day's seminar on Tax obligations and the use of effective Accounting Processes for Church Accountants and Treasurers in the Eastern Region, organized by Sir Charles Memorial Consultancy Services in conjunction with Inter-Class Associates limited, at Koforidua on Friday.

He said taxes were used for the development of the country to benefit all citizens therefore it is required that every salary worker contribute to that, by paying the taxes due to the IRS.

Mr. Lamptey indicated that any gift to the pastors or church employees valued above five hundred thousand cedis was taxable and urged church accountants to help the IRS realize their goal by deducting taxes due, on the salaries of church employees as done with the Social Security Fund(SSF) deductions.

A Chartered Tax Consultant, Mr Mike Afflu, who spoke on Gift Taxes and Tax Implications, said gift presented to a pastor with a value over five hundred thousand cedis, was taxable.

He mentioned houses, cars, home theatres and other valuables gifted to a pastor as taxable, since it was for the sole use of that pastor who was an employee of the church.

Mr Afflu, explained that any valuable item, not use for the benefit of the whole congregation, but for the personal use of the pastor, warranted the payment of tax as required by the law.

The Project adviser of the seminar, Mr Isaac Ocran, said the objective of the seminar was to create awareness among the churches of the country's on tax laws and how it relates to their activities and also to assists the church organizations in the preparation of their accounts.

He said, recent developments about pastors and churches who had failed to pay taxes on their income, informed the decision to organized the seminar and urged the participants to ensure proper tax and other financial management for their respective churches.

In an address read on behalf of the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, he noted that taxation was a sensitive national obligation that most people hated, yet it was the pillar behind the infrastructural development of the country and hoped the seminar would impact positively on payment of taxes.