Effective February 1, tributors or persons engaged in the gold or diamond mining industry who are rewarded for their labour under the tribute system which includes drivers, cooks, sailors, General Managers, or persons engaged in the site operation will be subject to a 20 per cent withholding tax, instead of ten per cent which was previously deducted.
This is according to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) which has released a statement noting that Section 33 F (1) of the Income Tax Act Chapter 81:01 has been amended and came into effect on January 1, 2017.
Pursuant to the Amendment, Section 33F (1) states that “where on after the commencement of this section any payment of emoluments is made by an employer to a tributor in relation to his employment as a tributor by the employer, the employer shall deduct or withhold tax at a rate of twenty percent of the gross amount of such payment and shall account for and pay over the tax to the Commissioner on or before 1st April,1st July,1st October and 31st December, respectively, in each year of Income.”
According to the GRA “the payments of emoluments made by an employer to a tributor in relation to his employment is subject to tax at a rate of twenty percent (20%) of the gross amount instead of ten percent (10%) and shall be withheld by employers and paid over to the Commissioner-General on or before April 1, July 1, October 1 and December 31, respectively, in each year of income.”
The tax Authority noted however, that tributors who were paid up to January 2017 will be subject to 10 per cent withholding tax and not 20 per cent for that period, following which, the 20 per cent withholding tax becomes applicable.
The twenty percent withholding tax, in addition to the additional filing of income tax at the end of the year, the mandate to keep daily records of all transactions or face sanctions for failing to do so, among other outlined changes are not sitting well with the members of the mining industry.
The miners have reportedly written President David Granger seeking redress on the new tax measures.
President of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) have been openly critical of the new sleuth of tax measures which they feel will spell certain doom for the miners if allowed to manifest in its current configuration.
Moreover, the mining bodies are calling for all the miners and supporters to stand in solidarity and mobilize against the tax regulations facing the industry.
It was reported in other sections of the media that the GGDMA and GWMO, speaking on behalf of the miners, in a letter said “surely, after almost 30 years of miners operating under the established tax code it makes logical sense that the main stakeholders of the industry have some input on the changes that will affect their pocket and family’s livelihood. We cannot abide by the return of high handed decisions that impose upon the industry impractical measures that will drive away more people than it will retain”.