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, 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.