“You can’t sit on your rights and hope that the cost will keep increasing and keep increasing and then you come ten years later”. Those were the words of Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams in relation to a claim of GYD$28.4B overpaid consumption taxes by Banks DIH Limited from the Guyana Revenue Authority (G.R.A.)
According to the court documents which were shown to the media, Banks DIH is declaring that it paid $12.8B in consumption taxes for the period 2001- 2006, which is an overpayment of over $9B when compared to DDL’s payment for the said period and which was deemed a mistake following a Court of Appeal Judgment in 2008.
Banks DIH claim follows a settlement between the Authority and Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). After an extensive legal battle between DDL and GRA arising out of the Consumption Tax assessment levied against the company by the then Commissioner-General in January 2009, to the tune of over $5B, the company had announced in April 2016 that an amicable settlement had been met between the two.
On Wednesday at a media conference, the Attorney General said “you have three months within which if you paid if you overpaying tax, you have three months within which you must bring an action.”
Clarifying that he was improperly named as a defendant by the company since the GRA is an independent institution, the AG also expressed optimism that the case will be won.
“I will give all and any assistance that is necessary for protecting the Government’s coffers, the taxpayers’ coffers. We are very confident that the case will be a proper case because you must remember in tax matters, there is always a statutory limitation” he told media operatives.
Earlier in the week, General Secretary of the PPP, Bharrat Jagdeo noted that his party had raised concerns regarding the DDL settlement which he had argued would result in a multi-million dollar debt to be taken from the treasury since other companies would take similar steps.
He stated that if the period 2006-2016 is assessed then there could be the possibility of another claim totalling over $30B, hence his arguments against such a deal, which he said the Opposition knows little about whose decision it was.