GRA to go after non-compliant Private Schools for owed taxes

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With much debate on government’s announcement for private schools to pay VAT, the Finance Minister is hoping to put the matter to rest as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) will be going after non-compliant private schools for taxes owed since 2012.

GRA Commissioner-General Godfrey Statia along with the Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Thursday at a joint press conference explained how and why the agency was taking this position.

According to the GRA, there are 54 private schools registered as a business of which 14% are on records as a profit making organization.  It is also being reported that only 11 private schools are recognized by the Education Ministry.

Minister Jordan also raised the point that a number of such schools offer competitive fees ranging from $144,000 to $300,000 per annum depending on the grade and level of the school.

He said the schools are charging more fees than one would pay for a University of Guyana Social Science course.

The only thing that attracts VAT in relation to private education is the tuition fee since all other educational items are now exempt from being taxed and are no longer zero rated items said the Finance Minister.

He said is not knocking at any private school fees and they are entitled to charge whatever they feel the market can bare.

The Finance Ministry says owners of private educational institutions are being reminded that they cannot charge clients VAT unless they are registered to do so by GRA and their earnings meet or exceed the VAT threshold of $15M annually.

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