Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Friday used some of his time during the budget debates to defend the new tax credit system that will be used for remigrants to acquire vehicles.
During his contribution to the budget debates, Jordan pointed to the abuse of the remigrants scheme that was taking place.
According to the Minister, taxpayers were paying for the dishonest. He cited examples of this abuse, such as importation of high end vehicles by persons who he said are unqualified for same.
Under the remigrant scheme, Guyanese who would have resided overseas for more than five years and are returning home were entitled to a number of benefits. These benefits included an import duty-free waiver for vehicles, and tax exemption for household items as incentives to encourage remigrants to come return home.
“People coming here under the guise of remigrant scheme and the principle thing is to bring over, bring home many containers, right, high end TVs, all kinda story and high end vehicles, then they disappear, not saying everybody, but the significant number of cases of this trickery has forced us to make changes in the way we do business” Jordan articulated.
In the 2019 budget, Jordan had announced that a system of credits would be used in the remigrant scheme, with a ceiling of $5 Million.
For example, if a remigrant brought in three vehicles with a value of $20 Million, they will receive a tax free allowance of $5 Million and pay all applicable taxes.
“The way we are going to do business now is that you now now get $5M tax credit, you can bring whatever vehicle you want after…we not responsible for you bringing no BMW in this place, we not responsible for that. We said you come back home and we give you up a certain level and so forth” he posited further.
Another measure he had announced was to allow returning students who completed at least three years of continuous study, to be eligible for remigrant status.
The remigrant scheme is administered by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, though the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) administers tax exemptions.