All you need to know about Government’s Electronic Transfer Levy (E-levy)

Ken Ofori-Atta and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
Ken Ofori-Atta and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

BASIC INFORMATION ON E-LEVY

The electronic transfer levy (e-levy) of 1.75% was introduced in the 2022 Budget Statement to widen the tax net and rope in potential taxpayers in the informal sector.

The levy will be charged on the value of the transfer above GH¢ 100 per person on a daily basis. The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is responsible for collecting and accounting for the e-levy.

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RATIONALE FOR THE E-LEVY

1. To introduce an innovative way to raise tax revenue, leveraging on the
digitalization of our economy.

2. To broaden the tax base to include the section of the population who remain outside the formal economy and as such largely untaxed.

3. To support entrepreneurship, youth employment, cyber security, and provision of digital and road infrastructure.

4. To increase Ghana’s tax-to-GDP ratio from approximately 12.2% in 2020 to 20% by 2024.

5. The introduction of the E-levy is expected to help increase the tax-to-GDP ratio to 16.5% in 2022 from 13.4% in 2021

READ MORE: Five Types of Transfers Covered by Government’s Controversial E-levy

E-LEVY: WHY NOW?

1. The shift from traditional to digital payments systems is having a negative impact on domestic revenue mobilisation.

2. To support the development agenda (e.g.: Road infrastructure, tackle youth unemployment (YouStart), build our digital infrastructure etc

3. The need to reduce the budget deficit from an estimated 9.4% in 2021 to below 5% by 2024, in line with the Fiscal Responsibility Act and reduce our debt burden

4. To widen the tax net for all Ghanaians to share the burden of providing for National
Development.

TRANSFERS COVERED UNDER THE E-LEVY

a. Mobile Money Transfers between accounts on the same Electronic Money Issuer (EMI)

b. Mobile Money transfers from an account on one EMI to a recipient on another EMI

c. Transfers from bank accounts to mobile money accounts

d. Transfer from mobile money accounts to bank accounts; and

e. Bank transfers on a digital platform or application which originate from a bank account belonging to an individual, to another individual.

READ ALSO: 1st Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu acts in contradiction of Standing Orders – Minority 

THE E-LEVY WILL NOT COVER

a. Cumulative transfers of GH¢ 100 per day made by the same person

b. Transfers between accounts owned by the same person

c. Transfers for the payment of taxes, fees, and charges on the Ghana.gov platform

d. Electronic Clearing of Cheques

e. Specified merchant payments (i.e. payments to commercial establishments registered with GRA for Income Tax and VAT purposes) and

f. Transfers between principal, master-agent, and agent’s account

E-LEVY CHARGING ENTITIES

1. Electronic Money Issuers (EMIs eg. MTN, Vodafone Cash, G-Money, etc);

2. Payment Service Providers (PSPs eg. Express Pay, Hubtel, E-Transact, etc)

3. Banks

4. Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions

5. Other Financial Institutions prescribed by Regulations

Poll: The people of North Tongu reject Government’s E-levy in a secret vote

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON E-LEVY
1. What is the E-Levy?

The E-levy is a tax imposed on electronic transfers charged at the time of transfer by licensed Banks, payment service providers (PSPs), and electronic money issuers (EMIs).

2. What is the rate of the levy?

The levy is 1.75% of the value of the electronic transfer.

3. Why has Government decided to levy electronic transactions?

a. To expand the tax base

b. To increase domestic tax mobilisation due to Ghana’s low tax-per-GDP ratio compared to its peers and other developing nations. (South Africa- 26.7%, Senegal- 16.4%, SSA average-16.5%, Ghana-12.2% in 2019)

c. Provide an opportunity for every Ghanaian to contribute towards the nation building

d. Reduce dependence on debt and borrowing

4. What will the revenue generated by the E-Levy be used for?

The proceeds shall be used to

a.  tackle the seemingly intractable and hydra headed challenges of high youth unemployment

b. inadequate and poor physical and digital infrastructure, including, in particular, roads

c. rising public debt.

5. How will the levy be applied?

a. The levy will be applied on the value (amount) of transfer above GHS 100 on a daily basis. That is, after one hundred Ghana Cedis (GHS 100) a day cumulative transfer, the e-levy will be applied.

b. For example, if Kofi sends GHS 50 to his sister in the morning and sends another GHS 50 (GHS 100 in total) to his brother in the afternoon, he will not pay the E-levy.

c. However, if Kofi makes any other transfer in the day after the money sent to his brother, the transfer amount will attract the E-levy (i.e. 1.75% of any amount above the first GHS 100).

6. What transactions fall under the E-Levy?

a. Any transfer to or from a mobile money account or from a bank account of a person will be subject to the tax. These include:

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b. Transfers done on the same mobile money network – For example sending money from your MTN Momo wallet to another person’s MTN Momo wallet.

c. Transfers from one mobile money network to a recipient on another network – For example sending money from your MTN Momo wallet to another person’s TIGO Cash wallet.

d. Transfers from banks accounts to mobile money accounts: For example, Kofi transfers money from an his CBG bank account to Ama’s MTN mobile money wallet.

e. Transfers from mobile money accounts to bank accounts: For example, Esi transfers money from her Vodafone Cash money wallet to Yaw’s GCB bank account .

e. Bank transfers on a digital platform or application which originate from a bank account belonging to an individual: Example- Kwame transferring money from his NIB Bank account to Akua’s Prudential Bank account.

7. What transactions are NOT covered by the E-levy?

a. Cumulative transfer of GHS 100 per day made by the same person: Everyone has a daily tax-free threshold (Limit) GHS 100 – that is every person will be
able to send up to GHS100 a day without the payment of the levy

b. Transfer between accounts owned by the same person; if you are moving money between your own accounts (i.e., of the same person) then you will not be charged the E-LEVY. A transfer from Kojo’s Tigo wallet to his MTN wallet or from his CBG band account to his GCB bank account or from his savings account to his current or investment account etc. is exempt

c. Transfers for the payment of taxes, fees, and charges : Any payment of taxes fees or charges made to an MDA or MMDA using the Ghana.gov platform or other designated system is exempt.

8. What transactions are NOT covered by the E-levy?

a. Electronic Clearing of Cheques; Clearing of cheques by the banks and specialized deposit taking institutions such as the savings and loans companies etc. are exempt.

b. Specified merchant payments; payments made to commercial establishments through a payment service (mobile money, bank application fintech etc.) to a person registered with for the purposes of income tax or value-added tax is exempt. This applies to both online and physical sales

c. Transfers between principal, agent, and master-agent accounts. To avoid charging the levy multiple times transfers that pass through multiple service providers before they get to the actual recipient is exempt from the levy

9. Are utility and airtime payments subject to the E-levy?

Yes. Once the payment is made from a mobile money account, bank account, or through a merchant payment platform; and exceeds the GHS 100 daily threshold the levy is payable

10. Will the levy be charged on payments of salaries using mobile money?

If the payment is made from a corporate bank account, there will not be any charge on the amount.

11. Who is responsible for charging the E-Levy and how will it be charged?

The entities responsible for charging the levy are;

a. The mobile money operators (MTN Momo, Vodacash, AirtelTigo Money, Zeepay and G-Money Payment Service Providers such as E-Tranzact, Hubtel, Korba, expressPay etc

b. All banks excluding rural and community banks

c. Specialised Deposit taking institutions such as rural and community banks, savings and loan companies, finance houses etc.

d. The Minister also has the power to add to the list through Regulations

e. The levy will be charged whenever a person makes a transfer. The charging entity will add the levy to the transfer amount and charge both to the person’s wallet or account. The entity will then pay the levy collected to Government.

12. Who will be collecting the E-Levy?

Government, through the Ghana Revenue Authority will set up a platform to collect the E-Levy in collaboration with licensed Electronic Money Issuers (EMIs), licensed Payment Service Providers (PSPs), licensed Banks, and Other Financial Institutions licensed by the Bank of Ghana.

13. If I encounter some trouble, who can I call?

A 24-hour service center will be set up to help individuals who may need further clarification or who might be experiencing any challenges. The call lines will be announced shortly

SOURCE: Coverghana.com.gh

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