GRA approves VAT exemption to 60 hinterland airstrips

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The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has cleared the way for 60 hinterland airstrips to be exempted from applying the 14% Value Added Tax (VAT). As such, domestic carriers can now apply to the GRA to effect the exemption for persons living in the identified areas.

From February 01, 2017, 14% VAT became applicable on all travels. The VAT Act was subsequently modified to ensure that hinterland residents be exempted. According to the list of exemptions published on the GRA’s website, “services of transporting passengers or goods by air from one place in Guyana to another place in Guyana,” is exempted “subject to the signing of an agreement between the government and the provider of the service for persons living in rural areas.”

However, this saw complaints being raised by the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) which stated that there is no way for the domestic carriers to identify who are really residents of the hinterland regions.

As such, the identification of the airstrips is intended to simplify the application of the VAT exemption. This new measure is still to be formalised.

Commissioner-General of the GRA, Godfrey Statia, during an outreach with miners in Bartica at the weekend, explained that it is too difficult to be going to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs to find out who is living in certain areas and to give them specific charges, thus the extensive approach was taken.

Statia said that the decision was reached after meeting with domestic air travel operators.  “I have exempted about 60 (domestic airstrips) after discussion with the aircraft association and the rest, once you do not show you live there you will have to pay the tax,” Statia said.

(Modified from GINA)

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