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Opinions of Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Columnist: Stephen A.Quaye

'Please pay tax'

It is true, many people have complained over the years about some misuse of government spending and corruption in some cases in the Ghanaian tax system.
I agree that some government abuses are valid concerns within some of our current tax systems.

But that does not excuse Ghanaians and more particularly Christian Pastors and their followers from submitting to the government in a form of paying their taxes as the Bible commands.

Ghanaians can and should work within the law to change some of unbiblical elements of the current tax systems when they find them.
WHAT IS TAX

Tax can be simply defined as a compulsory contribution to the state revenue, levied by the government on workers income and business profits or added to the cost of some goods, services and transactions.

Meaning income tax; pay roll tax, property tax, consumption tax, tariff capitation, fees and tolls are the taxes or compulsory contribution to the state revenue levied by the government on workers and you can never run away from it.

April 30, 2018, is the deadline for Canadian residence to file their annual income tax returns with the Canada Revenue Agency [CRA] which is backed by law.

After the deadline, postmen employed by Canada Post will pound the pavement to serve tax avoiders with reminder mails to file their income tax which is mandatory.

In Canada, the federal, provincial and municipal governments collect money through income and sale taxes from individuals and companies to help pay for government programmes and services, such as roads, public utilities, schools, health care, economic development and cultural activities.

The Canada Revenue Agency is charged with the duty to collect income taxes from Canadian residence every year as they file their income tax returns.
In Ontario, there is a harmonized tax [HST] of 13 %.usually added at the cash register so the amount on the price tag may not be the final price.
Eight percent of the HST goes to the provincial government and 5% goes to the federal government.

According to the CRA, February 13, 2017 to January 26, 2018 a total numbers of 29,317,055 tax returns were received. The breakdown is as follows: EFILE 16,602,996, NETFILE 8,443,343, and Total electronics 25,046,339, Paper 4,270,716.

NOW THE ARGUMENT:

In Mathew 17:24-27, we learn that when Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes he does,” he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon? He asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes-from their own sons or from others? From others,” Peter answered.
“Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him. But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

The gospels of Mathew Mark and Luke each tell of another account, when the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus in his words and find a reason to access him. In Mathew 22:15-22, we read:

“Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words, they sent their disciples to him along with Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

But Jesus who knew their evil intent said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this and whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Peter also taught that believers should submit to governing authorities. For the lord sake, submit to all authority-whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. The king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honour those who do right.

But, it is my belief that we cannot ignore God’s word, which clearly instructs us to be subject to governing authorities in the matter of paying taxes. As a believer and a patriotic citizen, I have filed my income tax returns with the CRA and I want you the reader to also file your income tax returns with Ghana Revenue Services.