Finance Ministry debunked claims of being in possession of taxpayers’ records

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The Finance Ministry is refuting claims that it is in possession of taxpayers’ records.

During a meeting to discuss the 14 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on private tuition on Friday last (April 07, 2017), at the National Cultural Centre, Education Minister, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine told the audience that “Records in the Ministry of Finance show that many of the (private educational) institutions have been slipping on their tax requirements.” This led Chartered Accountant and Attorney at Law Christopher Ram to express concerns about the Ministry being possession of the information which is the property of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA). The sentiments were highlighted by a Guyana Times article captioned “GRA’s release of tax info unethical – Ram” on April 09, 2017.

The Finance Ministry in a statement on Monday (April 10, 2017), noted that “(it) wishes to make clear that it does not have the records of any tax payer as insinuated by the article.”

The statement explained that as part of the efforts to broaden the tax base, in the context of reducing the VAT rate and providing relief in other areas, the Ministry of Finance, during the Budget 2017 exercise, required data on various sectors, activities and institutions, one of which was private schools. “The data in respect of the private schools were limited to the number of them registered in the system and their earnings. The clear intent was to examine the amount of additional revenue that could be garnered from the imposition of the VAT on this source,” the Ministry said.

It is, therefore, reassuring citizens that “the confidentiality and integrity of their tax information are zealously guarded by the Guyana Revenue Authority.”

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