Kwadwo Sheldon: "Don't tax content creators; the industry is still growing"

Ghana Revenue Agency (GRA) revealed plans to tax foreign income last year, specifically targeting influencers and content creators on international platforms like YouTube, Instagram, X, and Snapchat, among others.

Kwadwo Sheldon: "Don't tax content creators; the industry is still growing"

The GRA stated that the country's income tax law requires all income earners to file their taxes, including bloggers, brand influencers, content creators, and others.

The announcement did not sit well with many content creators, and Kwadwo Sheldon, a well-known YouTuber in Ghana, has been vocal about his disapproval of the government's proposal to tax Ghanaians earning foreign income.

Sheldon voiced his worries about the potential negative impact of such taxes on the rapidly expanding content creation industry in an interview with Daniel Dadzie of the BBC.

"I think it is not in our best interests.We are still building; it is not yet buoyant. So if you keep taxing us, how much are we going to make at the end of the day? Also, I am in a place and when you go to Social Blade, you see the average earnings of every artist.

"Not every content creator you see on Facebook breaking even or making a profit is doing well," he said.

He emphasized how difficult it is for content creators to make money off of their work on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram because of current tax laws and deductions.

"They will now take their own even before the YouTube money comes in. The US administration will act independently. If you make $1,000 a month at the end of the day, you will have $500 to take home," he continued.

Sheldon contended that raising taxes would drastically lower content creators' incomes and impede the sector's expansion.

Sheldon clarified that although there is a misperception that content creators do not pay taxes, they do so through alternate channels like brand advertising.

In addition, he emphasized the significant taxes that have already been paid and the taxes that are incurred when paying personnel and working with brands.

"We have employees who submit their own taxes and we ensure that they are paid when we pay them. Brands deduct VAT from everything they earn from us. It's not as though we're not paying, then. You are adding more, and we are paying.

Thus, what you ultimately receive is a pitiful amount, he clarified. Sheldon proposed that instead of enacting taxes, the government should negotiate with companies like Facebook to permit monetisation in Ghana, as Nigeria and Kenya have already done.

He emphasized that making monetisation possible would encourage content producers to produce more, which would eventually be advantageous to the government.

"Recently, the Nigerian government worked with Facebook's owners to allow their content creators to earn money. Kenya took the same action. What actions has our government taken? Nothing.

"It will encourage content providers to produce so that you can benefit financially from their labor when they do. I'm arguing that we need to be excused from it because the creative economy needs more vigor," he declared.