FACT CHECKED: Ursula Owusu’s claim on UK digital tax rate completely false

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At a town hall meeting in Koforidua on Thursday, January 27, 2022, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said Ghana’s electronic transactions levy (e-levy) was lower than the rate of digital tax in the United Kingdom.

The proposed introduction of the e-levy has been greeted with opposition since the government presented its 2022 Budget statement to parliament last year.

Fact-Check Ghana has verified the claims and provided the key facts on the issue below.

Claim 1: E-levy is being introduced at the lowest rate for any tax in Ghana, comparatively at 1.75%. Less than 2%.”

Verdict: Completely False

Explanation: Ghana has introduced a lot of taxes in recent times to shore up its budget deficit.

In 2021, for example, the government introduced the COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy Act, 2021 (Act 1068). The Health Recovery Levy Act imposed a 1% levy on the supply of goods and services made in the country, and goods and services imported unless exempted.

Aside from that, the John Mahama NDC government also imposed a 1% Special Import Levy on imported goods.

This tax is paid at the point of importation and computed on the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) value of the goods.

It is therefore not true that E-levy is being introduced at the lowest rate for any tax in Ghana.

Claim 2: ”In other countries, digital taxes are being introduced at the rate of up to 10% and they’re paying. That’s the UK. And we go there and seek loans from them to finance our development. When we are not paying the requisite taxes that we should.

Verdict: Completely False

Explanation: The government of the United Kingdom introduced a 2% digital services tax in April 2020, not 10%.

Unlike Ghana’s E-Levy, the UK digital service tax is not targeted at individual or citizen’s personal electronic transactions. The tax is expected to raise revenues from Large multi-national enterprises with revenue derived from the provision of social media services, search engines or online marketplace to UK users.

What does the Digital Services Tax cover in the UK?

The UK government said the Digital Services Tax would apply to businesses that provide a social media service, search engine or an online marketplace to UK users. These businesses would be liable to the Digital Services Tax when their worldwide revenues from these digital activities are more than £500 million and more than £25 million of these revenues are derived from UK users.

The government also said there was an allowance of £25 million, which means a company’s first £25 million of revenues derived from UK users will not be subject to Digital Services Tax.

Ursula Owusu’s claim is, therefore, both false and misleading. The two taxes are not the same.

While Ghana’s e-levy will have an impact on both individuals and businesses, the UK’s does not have any direct impact on individuals, but businesses only, according to the policy paper published on the UK government’s website on March 1, 2020.

This tax will, however, be short-lived because nearly 140 countries have struck a deal on new rules for international corporate taxation in October 2021.

A global tax reform, which is expected to take effect in 2023, will thereby replace the tax, according to US newswire services, Reuters.

It is therefore Completely False that the UK is implementing up to 10% digital services tax.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Asante

    People like you are true citizens exposing lies. I have lived in the UK for years and I couldn’t find where and when the tax Ursula claimed was introduced. It is sad people like her and others are misleading the country and Africa. She should be made to resign as this is criminal with intent to false and miss lead citizens. Akuffo Addo and his government is a disgrace.

    • 1)They gather Eastern Regional DCEs, MPs (all NPP members) &some stomach pastors and call it a Town Hall Meeting?
      2)How do u equate Talk Tax to Momo Tax?
      3) Party would always clap for one of their own; irrespective of the lies. (As if we don’t have friends and relatives in the UK. Or she meant United Koforidua 😆🤣😂

  2. This is a deliberate lie told by Ursula Owusu just to make it look like they are being considerate to us Ghanians. This is very ridiculous and she should bow her head in shame for what she has done.

  3. Useless analysis and obviously weak minds will fall for this trash.

    1. E-Levy is the lowest (1.75%) communication service tax introduced. And you refute this claim by referencing import levies. The context of the statement clearly is related to communication service levy. This is clearly seen in your second verdict. Such a diabolic move by the Fourth estate.

    2. In your second verdict you in print bold “2% digital services tax”😂😂😂. You conveniently distinguished this tax from other taxes but in the first you lump all taxes together, making references to Covid levy and import duty tax. Why didn’t you make reference to the 19% corporate tax in the Uk.

    You acknowledge that from the beginning of the statement, the context has been on communication services tax.

    But as usual bitter Manasseh and his cabal will push this useless stunt for the applause of weak minds

    • Sir, thank you for reading our report and giving us feedback. But kindly re-read the claim quoted in our report because it appears you missed the exact statement that the Communications Minister made about the tax rate.

  4. Am in uk if you buy anything outside, you pay tax on it. I wish to print my alibaba items bought if I didn’t pay tax. Even if the items exceed the amount the government has set you pay duties

  5. Even if it’s true they don’t use taxes to rent expensive jet to fly in sky and bath like an arabian king pay an hour 20,000dollar , mother serpent of corruption you misused the the taxe payer money as if you don’t think

  6. When it comes to taking more from the already suffering Ghanaians, they are quick to reference advanced countries.

    When it comes to doing more in terms od development and reducing corruption, ah well, they forget the advanced countries even exist, not to talk of having formulated practical policies and programs that help them achieve both.

  7. Why should the honorable minister try to force a bitter pill into the throat of Ghanaians by lying to sugar her porridge. Ghanaians are currently discerning and would easily never fall to this evil machinations. A CHRONIC LIAR INDEED.

  8. It’s very high time at least the truth is said. If the minister said 10% and according to ur report it’s 2% it’s false? Thank goodness they have 2% whilst Ghana’s own is 1.75% which is better? NDC can never come back to power because of this misconceptions and propaganda ideas of people like u and Manasse. God bless mother Ghana.

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