Following the guidelines issued by the Commissioner-General on 11 May 2020 on the implementation of the tax incentives in support of taxpayers against the COVID-19 pandemic, we present below guidelines provided by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for smooth implementation of the waiver on selected Tier Three withdrawals and VAT/NHIL/GETFund Levy relief on donations:
1. Waiver of Income Tax on withdrawals from Tier Three Provident Funds and Personal Pension Schemes
Funds drawn from Tier Three Provident Fund or Personal Pension Schemes before maturity as a result of permanent loss of employment or capital, due to the COVID-19 pandemic shall be exempted from the income tax thereon.
Eligibility for the waiver will, however, be determined by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) in the form of certification covering qualification for such withdrawals.
The NPRA has, therefore, issued the following directives in response to the above:
· Withdrawals from Provident Fund Schemes by members who have permanently lost their employment shall be limited to 15% of the member’s total accrued benefits in the scheme.
· Self-employed who are members of Personal Pension Schemes can withdraw all amount in their personal savings account.
· NPRA has spelt out the procedure for applying for the above benefits which includes the employer submitting a letter to the Trustees stating its inability to pay its workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The applicant must also complete a prescribed form and attach the relevant documents in support of the relief application.
2. Value Added Tax/National Health Insurance Levy/Ghana Education Trust Fund Levy Relief on donations
Specific donations toward the fight against COVID-19 have been relieved of VAT/NHIL/GETFund Levy. The relief covers the following categories of beneficiaries:
a. Businesses/persons who donate some of their stock of goods or equipment,
b. Businesses/persons/associations who purchase items from third parties to donate, and
c. Businesses/persons who purchase inputs for the construction or extension of health facilities meant for the fight against the pandemic
Donations eligible for the relief must be donated through recognized institutions and bodies including the following:
· The COVID-19 Trust Fund
· The Private Sector COVID-19 Fund
· Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs)
· Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)
· Health institutions
· Traditional Councils
· Religious bodies/institutions
Taxpayers are however required to obtain proof of donations in the form of acknowledgement receipt which should indicate the name of the donor, description of items donated, respective quantities and value donated from any qualifying institution the donation was made to.
Further Guidelines under 2
(i) Beneficiaries under category (2a) above are to take the relief so conferred on their monthly VAT/NHIL/GETFund Levy returns.
(ii) Those in category (2b) are to take the relief as deductible expenses in filing their income tax returns
(iii) Category (2c) beneficiaries are to obtain approvals for imports of the underlying supplies from the Ministry of Finance on consignment basis, and obtain their relief by application through the Exemptions Portal
(iv) On the domestic front, category (2c) beneficiaries are to apply to the GRA for the one-off VAT Relief Purchase Order (VRPO) dispensation subject to Ministry of Finance approval
The directive from GRA also stated that, for (iii) and (iv) above, the beneficiary should apply through the Ministry of Health to validate their application and forward same to the Ministry of Finance for approval.
The approval granted by the Finance Ministry will, therefore, waive off the VAT/NHIL/GETFund Levy on inputs imported or purchased domestically for the construction or extension of health facilities meant for the fight against COVID-19