A number of goods and services are exempt from VAT under the VAT Act, 2013 (Act 870) law (S. 15 Section 35/ Schedule 1). This classification should, however, be distinguished from zero-rated supplies described later in this booklet. (All goods and services exempt from VAT are also exempt from the NHIL and GETFund). A summary of the goods and services which are exempt from VAT/NHIL and GETFund include:

Live animals
This classification includes all live animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, swine and poultry, but excludes horses, asses, mules, hinnies and similar exotic animals.

Goods for the disabled
Articles designed exclusively for use by the disabled.

Educational Items / Services

The supply of educational services at any level by an educational establishment approved by the Minister for Education. Laboratory equipment for educational purposes and library equipment.

Medical supplies and services – Pharmaceuticals
Medical services, essential drugs as listed under Chapter 30 of the ‘HS Code’ produced or supplied in Ghana, specified active ingredients for essential drugs, and selected imported special drugs determined by the Minister for Health and approved by Parliament.

Includes transportation by bus and similar vehicles, train, boat and air.

Machinery, apparatus, appliances and parts thereof, designed for use in

  • agriculture, veterinary, fishing and horticulture

  • industry

  • mining (as specified in the mining list) and dredging; and

  • railway and tramway.
  • Crude oil and hydrocarbon products
    Petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, kerosene and residual fuel oil.

    Land building and construction
    The granting, assignment or surrender of an interest in land or buildings intended to be used for the purpose of dwelling; the right to occupy land or buildings excluding hotel accommodation, warehousing, storage and similar occupancy incidental to the provision of the related services. Civil engineering public works.
    This exemption excludes professional services such as architectural or surveying (i.e. these are taxable services).

    Other Exempt Supplies

    Financial Services
    Provision of insurance; issue, transfer, receipt of, or dealing with money (including foreign exchange) or any note or order of payment of money; provision of credit; operation of any bank (or similar institution) account.
    This exemption excludes professional advice such as accountancy, investment and legal (i.e. these are taxable services).

    Animals, livestock, poultry and fish imported for breeding purposes

    Live asses, mules, and hinnies, live bovine animals, live swine; live sheep and goats; live marine mammals, live fish and aquatic invertebrates.

    Animal product in its raw state produced in Ghana
    Edible meat and offal of the animals, livestock and poultry earlier listed, provided any processing is restricted to salting, smoking, freezing or similar simple processes of preparation or preservation.
    This exemption excludes pate, fatty livers of geese and ducks and similar products (i.e. these are taxable).
    NOTE: These items are considered to be in their raw state even if they have undergone simple processes of preparation or preservation such as freezing, chilling, drying, salting, smoking, stripping or polishing.

    Agricultural and aquatic food product in its raw state produced in Ghana.
    Fish, crustaceans and molluscs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, coffee, cocoa, shea butter, maize, sorghum, millet, tubers, guinea corn and rice.
    This exemption excludes ornamental fish (i.e. the supply of ornamental fish is taxable).

    Seeds, bulbs, rooting, and other forms of propagation;

    Of edible fruits, nuts, cereals, tubers and vegetables.

    Agricultural inputs
    Chemicals including all forms of fertilizers, acaricides, fungicides, nematicides, growth regulators, pesticides, veterinary drugs and vaccines, feed and feed ingredient.

    Fishing equipment

    Boats, nets, floats, twines, hooks and other fishing gear as well as imported inputs for fishing nets and twines.

    Supply of water. The exemption excludes packaged and distilled water (i.e. they are taxable).


    Domestic use of electricity up to a specified consumption level prescribed in regulations by the Minister (i.e. all commercial use of electricity and domestic consumption above the limit specified is taxable).

    Printed matter (books and newspapers)
    These must be fully printed or produced by any duplicating process. It includes atlases, books, charts, maps and music.
    The exemption excludes imported newspapers, plans and drawings, scientific and technical works, periodicals, magazines, price lists, greeting cards, almanacs, calendars and stationery. These are taxable.

    Transfer of a Going Concern
    The supply of goods as part of the transfer of a business as a going concern by one taxable person to another taxable person. It is taxable at a zero rate and therefore not exempt.

    Postal Services
    Supply of postage stamps (i.e. other commercial services rendered by postal agencies are taxable).
    VAT/NHIL & GETFund Levy is not chargeable on the sale of exempt supplies but at the same time no credit may be allowed to the business making exempt sales for the VAT/NHIL paid on purchases or expenses applied for the purpose of the exempt sales – S. 24(3). The business can however recover these input taxes by including it in the cost of production and distribution. It must be noted that businesses which make only exempt supplies cannot register for VAT.

    Salt for human consumption

    The supply of salt for human consumption, including table salt.

    Mosquito Nets

    The supply of mosquito nets whether or not impregnated with chemicals.

    Paper for Production of Exercise Books

    A supply of paper for paper for the production of exercise books and textbooks.

    Mild Carbone Steel

    An import of mild carbon steel for the manufacture of machetes.

    National Lottery

    A stake in National Lotto organised by the National Lottery Authority. Any other forms of stake in lottery not organised by the National Lottery Authority is taxable.

    Automobile Industry

    Importation of plant and machinery specifically designed for use in the automobile and kits by an automobile manufacturer or assembler who is registered under the Ghana Automotive Manufacturing Development Programme. Any other importation is taxable.

    Management Fees by Local Fund Manager

    Management fees charged by a local manager for management of a licensed private equity fund, a venture fund or a mutual.