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Mills, John Evans Atta (1971) Principles of Ghana Income Tax Law and Economic Development: Some Basic Issues and Problems. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The purpose of this Thesis is three-fold: namely, to focus attention on some of the basic issues and problems arising under the present Ghana Income Tax law, to discuss their probable effects on Ghana's economic development, and to suggest possible changes in the law. It must be pointed out that this is not a Thesis on Economics. For this reason, this Thesis makes no attempt to consider the broad question whether or not the use of income taxation in the Ghana economy is desirable. Neither does it consider the relative effects of income and other forms of taxation on Ghana's economic development. Such questions have rightly been left to the economist. This Thesis has been divided into 5 Parts. PART I deals with the Ghana Income tax base: Chapter II presents a critical analysis of some of the economists' theories on "income", showing that (i) even economists are not agreed on the "proper" definition of income and (ii) each theory presents various problems. Chapter III is an examination of the present Ghana income tax base. Section (A) deals with the Legal concept of "income" under Ghana law. It is shown that there is no clear and comprehensive notion of what constitutes "income" for tax purposes. Section (B) examines the scope of "incomes" chargeable to tax under the present law. It points out (a) the difficulty of defining such terms as "trade" "Business" "profession" and "vocation", (b) the difficulty of taxing interest from customary mortgages and rents from customary tenancies and (c) that the exemption of capital gains under the law, gives rise to tax avoidance and infringes the principles of equity in taxation. Chapter IV examines the arguments for and against the introduction of a Capital Gains tax into Ghana, concluding that such a tax would be desirable. PART II deals with the computation of "Chargeable Income". Chapter V therefore examines under Section (A) the nature and extent of allowable expenses, showing that the expenses allowed are too limited. Section (B) Capital allowances Section (C) Treatment of Losses and Section (D) the desirability of The Turn-over Tax. PART III studies the nature of exemptions granted under the present Income tax law. Chapter VI therefore discusses exemptions granted under the law with a view to (a) promoting educational and social welfare activities, (b) protecting the sick and the aged, (c) encouraging certain local institutions, (d) promoting agriculture and exports and (e) encouraging foreign participation in the Ghanaian economy. It is shown that the tax relief granted to foreign investors are over-generous. Moreover, they are nullified through double-taxation. PART IV deals with the problems of Anti-Avoidance Chapter VII thus analyses in detail (a) specific Anti-Avoidance provisions and (b) The General-Anti-Avoidance Provision existing under the Decree to combat tax-avoidance. PART V considers Income Tax Administration in Ghana. Chapter VIII therefore examines under Section (A) the general non-Nepal problems which hinder the successful implementation of the Income Tax Decree. Section (B) offers a detailed description of the present Income Tax administrative procedure. Section (C) examines critically the provisions relating to the resolution of tax disputes arising under the law. It is shown first, that the tax Appeals system discriminates against the small-income taxpayer and secondly that the Appeal system is in need of revision. This Thesis states the law as at June 15, 1971.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:17

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