The General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni Frimpong says the state must first tax political parties and old student associations before considering taxing tithes and collections at churches.
He accused politicians of corruption and suggested that government needs to close up loopholes within the tax net and be more responsible in protecting public funds before seeking to rope in churches to pay taxes on their tithes.
Speaking on the Wednesday’s edition of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show which discussed the topic whether churches should be taxed, Reverend Opuni argued that churches had been providing social amenities in deprived communities and a decision to tax them must not be taken lightly.
He does not understand why anybody would want churches to pay taxes on their tithes when they are already paying taxes on their investments.
He insisted churches pay their staff, pay property tax and go the extra mile by building schools and hospitals – something they are not required by law to do.
Pushed to state whether churches should pay taxes on tithes, Rev Opuni declined. It is a “sensitive” issue, he said.
Tithes which is an act of faith, is a donation of ten percent of one’s salary to God. It is praticised by many Christians including the 19 churches under he Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), an umbrella group that unites 19 churches in Ghana. The Council has its members from Charismatic, Pentecostal, Orthodox and other churches.
But Ambassador-designate Dr. Tony Aidoo believes tithes are not gifts and should fall under taxable incomes.
He said churches “creates a moral obligation on members so it sits outside the realm of gift…psychologically, tithes have become an institutional foundation and a requirement for meaningful membership in a church”.
The policy advisor referred to Archbishop Nicholas Duncan William’s recent charge on President Mahama to “distribute the wealth so that the tithes will come” as evidence of how tithes are not voluntary donations.
He said there is even a gift tax on the statue books and therefore tithes given to churches should qualify to be taxed.
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