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History of the Internal Revenue Service of Ghana

Income Tax Administration in Ghana started in September, 1943 with the passing into law of the Income Tax Bill on 22nd September, 1943 as the Income Tax Ordinance No.27 of 1943. Initially, the Department collected tax from only a few limited liability companies and a very small number of individuals.

Over the years other taxes and duties were added to the Income Tax.

These were:-

i) Minerals Duty 1952
ii) Betting Tax 1952
iii) Casino Revenue Tax 1955

Between 1961 and 1963, additional taxes and duties were introduced. Among these are Property Tax (1961), Entertainment Duty Tax (1962), Airport Tax, Hotel Customers Tax, Standard Assessment and Excess Profits Tax, all in 1963.

Pay As You Earn (PAYE) was introduced with effect from lst July, 1961 and the tax year was changed from April – March to July – June. The tax year was again changed to January – December with effect from lst January 1983.

In July 1963, the Income Tax Department was renamed Central Revenue Department to reflect the broad scope of taxes to be collected. All these years – 1943 – 1985 the Department was a civil service department.

However, in July 1986, the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) government took a decision on structural changes in the organisation and legislation – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) law – 1986 (PNDCL.143) – was passed. This law transformed the hitherto Central Revenue Department into a public service organisation. Prior to the promulgation of PNDCL.143) in 1986 the government in 1985 established the National Revenue Secretariat (NRS) with a ministerial status to supervise the Revenue Agencies. This role was performed with virtual autonomy from the Ministry of Finance.

In 1991, the National Revenue Secretariat was relocated under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MFEP). With the coming into force of the Constitution of the Fourth Republic, the NRS lost its ministerial status and was placed strategically between the Sector Ministry and the Revenue Institutions.

Further restructuring led to the promulgation of the Revenue Agencies (Governing) Board Act, 1998 (Act.558) to establish a Central governing body in place of the existing governing boards of IRS, CEPS and VATS. However, the Revenue Agencies Governing Board was constituted in the year 2001 to ensure supervision and co-ordination of the activities of the three Revenue Agencies


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