2020-03-04

ACCRA, LAGOS - This story identifies the lapses in the current tax systems and how Ghana and Nigeria are dealing with profit shifting and tax avoidance. It exposes how major tech companies, Facebook and Google, use tax havens to avoid payment of taxes in Nigeria and Ghana, depriving these countries of revenue which could be invested in many deprived areas.

How do you tax a Non-resident Company generating profit in your country if your law stipulates you can only tax companies with a physical presence?

How do you deal with local businesses playing at an unfair advantage being mandated to pay taxes while bigger, multinational digital competitors get away with paying little if at all?

This story is on how highly digitalised businesses operating in Africa in the last decade means that the traditional brick and mortar view of business, taxation and profit shifting must be carefully reviewed. 

The story exposes how major tech companies, Facebook and Google, use tax havens to avoid payment of taxes in Nigeria and Ghana, depriving these countries of revenue which could be invested in many deprived areas.

The story identifies the lapses in the current tax systems and how Ghana and Nigeria are dealing with profit shifting and tax avoidance. The journalists speak to tax experts, government representatives and the academia to understand what is at stake, who is bearing the burden of this tax avoidance, what new legislation if any are being introduced to curb this harmful trend, and what to expect from the OECD and individual countries in 2020.

Mentor

The team of journalists investigating this story was mentored by Will Fitzgibbon.

Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a media practitioner with over seven years experience in data, investigative and policy journalism. He is currently the Policy and News Director at iWatch Africa based in Ghana.

Gideon Sarpong

Olivia Ndubuisi

Olivia Ndubuisi writes from Lagos, Nigeria at the moment.

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