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Taxation On The Church: An Abominable Act!   
 
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03-Sep-2018  
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Ghana, believed to be a Christian nation has a population that is nearing thirty [30] million. Seventy percent [70%] of this population are members of various Christian denominations who go to church.

Today, pastors [or men of God] play a major contributive role in the impartation of the Word onto the members of these various Christian denominations, the citizens of Ghana and as well, during elections to ensure that peace continually prevails.

Nonetheless, the Government has made pronouncements on the decision to impose tax on churches based on the claim that businesses are executed in the Church.

The Registrar General’s department underscores that a church is registered under ‘Limited by Guarantee’. Any company registered under ’Limited by Guarantee’ is exempt of tax by the constitution. Are we saying that the Government doesn’t comply with the constitution of this land or the constitution of Ghana must be amended?

On the issue of selling [otherwise business] that goes on in the church; we must remember that if for instance, a bottle of oil or communion wine that has already been taxed from source and has a barcode on it by the government is purchased by a pastor and he decides to ‘sell’ this bottle of oil or communion wine that he deposited his ‘anointing’ into; Is it possible for the government to quantify the volume of ‘grace’ imparted into that mere oil or communion wine that is going to perform a certain miracle for a certain person, for that person to experience a certain breakthrough? Let’s be real, the same way the oil or communion wine was purchased, is the same way that the pastor ‘can’ decide to sell to members of the church ‘even if’ it is by divine direction from God. Will the government still slap taxes on that thing which cannot be quantified?

Yes, there are some pastors who are exploiting people in certain churches; however, it is the government’s duty to intermittently seek the interests of the Ghanaian church-goer and not impose a tax system on the Church as a whole.

Evidently, some pastors are doing wrong things in the Church: yet, if a wrong man [pastor] is doing a wrong thing and a government chooses to follow the wrongness and performs a wrongful act, then what is that government? The act of selling in the church is not biblical. It is WRONG! Therefore, when the government follows the same wrongdoing to take such monies in the name of taxation, is the government not more corrupt than that very pastor that sells [a thing] in the church?

It thus implies that the government is ultimately encouraging that act of selling in the church in order to make more money.

Every church is seen to be autonomous. The fact that a church is in a nation does not mean that the Church is of the nation. UN laws even acknowledge that in the event of a war or any kind of problem, one can run to the church to seek refuge and no troop[s] will have the right to harm this person or persons in the Church.

Who then dare the Government of Ghana to invade the Church and impose tax on the Church.

Churches overseas are seen as charitable institutions wherefore after taxes are filed every year, certain monies are paid back to the church to cater to the transformation and growth of the people. Is the government of Ghana following suit by taxing the church and bringing back those monies to support the people or they are taxing the church to use that money for their own dubious exploits?

In Ghana, pastors are not given any special treatment; they pay tax on every purchase made just like any other citizen [because the Bible admonishes all Christians to do so with honesty], and so I find it hard to understand the intention behind the decision to not exempt tax on churches, as has been in the last sixty [60] years.

Pastors and the Church provide crucial social services to this nation and these efforts relieve the government of doing work it would otherwise be obliged to undertake and no appreciation is shown on the part of the government for work done by pastors.

Even so, government should prove to us all, that is, give a biblical analysis of where this abominable act of imposing a tax system on the Church took place in the Bible. Anyone or institution that deems it right to charge God should move right ahead to do so and would face His WRATH.

Is the government not aware that:

i.  Taxing the church would place government above God: The Bible points out that those who rule society are appointed directly by God. Are we maintaining that the government, appointed by God, is above the Church of God?

ii. Taxing churches when their members receive no monetary gain in return would amount to double taxation: church members are already taxed on their individual incomes, to tax them again for participation in voluntary organizations from which they derive no gain is ‘double taxation’.

iii. Small churches, already struggling to survive, would be further endangered by a tax burden.

iv. Poor and disadvantaged people relying on the assistance from local churches would suffer.

The Government must refrain from this very decision, so as to not experience any furious demonstration in the coming days.

Otherwise, the Law court of Ghana should give a justification of which category of business the church belongs to, [i.e. limited by guarantee, limited by liability, etc.] so that all know and adhere to the regulations governing that category accordingly.

Plus, the Government should reveal how they would quantify every pastor’s anointing they carry by the calling that God has bestowed upon them and charge tax on it. 

I, Bishop Fidel Owusu-Agyei of the ecumenical board of the Council of Faith, Ghana and Worldwide disagree with this decision and strongly urge the government to rethink it. The Church belongs to God Almighty and not any human being and therefore all activities of the Church should be left for God to be the ultimate judge.

If we say that Ghana is a Christian nation, let our decisions be inspired by the Word of God because not ever was it recorded in the Scriptures that the Church paid tax. Sixty years of Church tax exemption has not brought our dear nation to ruins and it will not now.

My humble submission,

Bishop Fidel Owusu-Agyei
 
 
Source: Bishop Fidel Owusu-Agyei
 
 

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