The Government has made it clear that it intends to utilise all avenues to go after delinquent taxpayers to ensure they comply with the relevant tax laws of the country.
During his presentation of the 2016 Budget in the National Assembly last Friday, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan said it has been observed that the country’s tax structure is yielding uneven amounts of revenue; an issue that continues to place economic strain on the country’s financial system.
“The numbers suggest that there is a large population of delinquent taxpayers out there, prominent among whom are the self-employed and persons paying contributors’ tax. We are concerned about the failure of both categories to pay their fair share of taxes”, he noted.
Jordan said Government will be encouraging GRA to intensify its efforts at undertaking evaluations of tax revenues by impact of exemptions, economic centres and economic sectors. “The reason is to enable better targeting of those taxpayers who are not in compliance with the tax laws and to understand the reasons for non-compliance, so that we could help them to do better”, he reasoned.
The Minister said once the evaluations are completed, there should be a determination of the economic value of concessions to the country, align economic centres with geographic regions and gain a better understanding of which industries are not paying their fair share of taxes and why.
According to him, a simple analysis of tax collections has shown that only three parts of the tax structure are contributing meaningfully to government revenues. They are: income tax, production and consumption taxes, and import duties.
“It is with the need to remedy this situation of revenue leakage that the GRA is being asked to undertake a sensitisation and awareness exercise in order to help taxpayers to fulfil their obligations”, he said.
Only late last month, Chairman of the Governing board of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Rawle Lucas said that when communities fail to produce the revenues that reflect their observed level of economic activity, the GRA would have to use its enforcement authority.