The Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, on Friday laid a bill before Parliament to amend the Income Tax Act 2015, (Act 896). The presentation of the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2015 came barely 24 hours after Parliament had challenged the authority of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to suspend the implementation of the act without recourse to the House.
The Speaker, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, referred the bill to the Finance Committee of Parliament for consideration and delivery of a report to the House.
He said the committee could also look at any consequential issue and advise the House accordingly.
The Income Tax Act 2015, which was passed by Parliament and assented to by President John Dramani Mahama on September 1, 2015, was supposed to come into effect on January 1, 2016.
Under the act, all interest paid to an individual is to attract one per cent tax.
This means that any interest accrued on treasury bills, fixed income deposit, interest from banks, among others, will attract a tax of one per cent.
Following public uproar against the tax, the GRA directed all financial institutions to suspend its imposition.
A ranking member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Dr Anthony Akoto-Osei, raised the issue in Parliament last Thursday, pointing out that the GRA had no authority to suspend the act, pointing out that when Parliament passed an act, no institution had the right to suspend it.
Dr Akoto-Osei said it was crucial for Parliament to send a notice to institutions that they could not “negate” an act passed by the House.
The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, supported the position of Dr Akoto-Osei and stressed that the GRA had no authority to suspend the Income Tax Act that had been passed by Parliament.
He said until such an Act was amended by Parliament, it remained in force.
Dr Doe Adjaho asked the Majority leader to take the issue up with the appropriate authorities.