The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has secured a grace period for all players in the creative arts sector from paying taxes until the players have been properly educated.
A statement from the ministry, signed by the Minister, Catherine Afeku said the ministry “has agreed with the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) that until such time that artists have been educated on their tax obligations, they will be given a moratorium”.
“In this connection, the Ministry announces for the information of all players in the creative arts sector that it has received assurances from the Ministry of Finance and the GRA to the effect that between now and end of December 2018, workshops will be organized to educate artistes on their tax obligations, generally, and why it is the civic responsibility of every Ghanaian who earns an income to pay tax,” it added.
This comes after some actors, include Kwadwo Nkansah Lil Win and Mercy Asiedu, went public and said they were being harassed by GRA to do a tax assessment and pay taxes on all their past works. The actors damned the move and said the government has not even fulfilled a single one of their promises to them and yet they were being harassed for taxes.
Following that, the Tourism Minister, accompanied a select group of artists, including Lil Win, Yvonne Nelson, Akofa Edjeani, Idikoko and Oscar Provencale engaged the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta on the matter, and also on the challenges facing the movie industry, generally.
Catherine Afeku also engaged the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Kofi Nti and the matter and was able to secure the grace period for the artists.
“The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture can assure the general public that the government has listened to the country’s artists and taken into account their apprehensions and demands.
“As a Government, we appreciate the significant role played by the creative arts sector and their immeasurable contribution to the creative economy, and we shall continue to create the space for the industry to flourish,” the statement said.
It said the artists have asked for further education so the Ministry is working with GRA to organize workshops for them between now and December this year and teach them the computation, modalities or payment and other related issues.
“Going forward, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is working on creating an enabling environment whereby paying a tax will not be a painful duty and that fulfilling tax obligation is done in a seamless manner that will be seen and accepted as a necessary civic duty of every citizen in the creative sector,” the statement said.