Govt sounds warning to private schools over payment of taxes

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Minister of Finance Winston Jordan, earlier today, sounded a warning to private schools operating in Guyana that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) will be taking the necessary steps to ensure that they comply with the necessary tax laws.

Jordan who was at the time speaking at an engagement with the media explained that only 54 institutions, representing 57 per cent of the private schools that operate in the country are registered with the GRA. This, the minister said is unacceptable and steps will be taken to correct the situation.

The minister added that all schools that are found to be non-compliant will be will be given some time to get themselves in order.

Jordan was tasked with explaining Government’s decision to have the 14% VAT on private school fees and other materials remain, despite huge public outcry. The minister related the projected revenue is critical to meet the funding for the G$38B shortfall it has for its 2017 expenditure programme.

He said that private schools that complain of the burden the tax will place on students should consider absorbing the costs which could later be represented as a deductable for the GRA.

Several students and parents gathered outside the offices of the GRA on Tuesday to challenge the government over its imposition of 14% VAT on private school fees. Though the turnout was not as big as expected, their united voices were loud. Organiser of the protest, businessman Roshan Khan demanded that the Government immediately reverse the VAT charge on education and issue an apology to the country.

Other persons on the picket line also had similar cries and called on the Administration to act swiftly to reverse the measures, but government has so far not budged.

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