GRA to get tough with tax defaulters

6

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced that it intends to get tough with tax defaulters and will do so by making full use of its enforcement authority.

Chairman of the Board of Governors of GRA, Rawle Lucas
Chairman of the Board of Governors of GRA, Rawle Lucas

Chairman of the Board of Governors of GRA, Rawle Lucas, said Guyanese taxpayers need to honour their obligations to the State and the tax collecting body will utilise all mechanisms at its disposal to ensure that persons comply with the relevant laws.

Lucas speaking during a media conference on Friday at the entity’s Camp Street, Georgetown, Head office, said the agency is seeking to up its game in providing a comfortable environment for taxpayers and workers; but the situation needs to get better.

According to him, the board examined economic data over the period 2006 to 2014 to establish some preliminary estimates of the tax base. The methodology used relied on that used by the Bank of Guyana (BoG) to realise the resource gap and get a true sense of the resource shortfall.

He said that another goal of the GRA this year, is to give accurate measurement of the tax base for future tax planning as an inaccurate tax base can lead to revenue loss, as revenue leaks through the various tax structures.

The ones that are of greater concern, the chairman said, are the losses from self-employed income tax, property tax, value added taxes and import duties.

He said one of the troubling things seen so far, is the relationship between the total number of registered tax payers and those who are actually paying tax.
“In an economy that was growing at an annual average of 4.5 per cent, the number of persons paying taxes was declining. We intend to study this phenomenon some more to understand the behaviour of these variables and to reverse the unconfirmed trend,” he added.

Lucas noted that it is under circumstances like these, where revenue collection does not match observed level of economic activity that the GRA must use its enforcement authority.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Harry,

    Everyone should file a tax return as part of the checks and balances process. This is one of the things that make western countries much more advanced an effective. Who is to say that the ‘reputable business” you are working for is making the correct payments or even paying their fair share. The problem with Guyana and many developing countries as a whole is that there are not enough checks and balances and those that exist are being circumvented left, right and center. Good luck getting self employed persons like carpenters to pay their fair share of taxes much less disclose their true earnings. However, if you tie one requirement to another – for example before you get a license to conduct your business/profession – you need to show your tax compliance, and they there are more regular random audits by GRA, then the country would be better off. Of course, those that don’t pay will claim that they are not benefiting when in fact they use the same roads, and their children go to the same schools or hospitals that is being financed by tax dollars. In economics this is called a free rider and Guyana has plenty free riders regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender etc. The VAT was expected to solve this issue. However, it has failed. On the flip side if leadership is good, then people would not have to think twice about paying their fair share of taxes and worry that it is being syphoned off or their is corruption. Guyana is yet to have good, strong leadership in its 50 years of existence, and the current bunch is not exception.

  2. They are only going after the PPP and they have the PNC phantom squad going after all PPP supporters. SHAME on you PNC!

  3. Ravi, if you work for a reputable business and they are paying your taxes & national insurances for you why should you file a tax return? You should only file a tax return if you have an extra job(self employed at weekends) gaining an income from other investments such as renting, shares dividends etc.

  4. Iagdeo offered this lame duck government assistance to collect taxes from some big business but so far, they have not responded. WHY? These same big shots were part of the MOOKLALL’s FUCOP as well as the financial backers for GRANGER’S APNU election campaign. The treasury will soon be empty so they are now going after the small fish who do not have accountants to create dishonest, sophisticated tax returns in order to avoid paying the right amount or possibly nothing atall

  5. In the meantime the criminals are running wild, killing, robbing, maiming and terrorizing the citizenry.

  6. I want them to get all them people in Sophia, Tuckville, Buxton, Linden etc. to pay their taxes. In fact, everyone should be required to file a tax return whether they owe taxes or not so.

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