GRA clamps down on private schools

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Approximately 30 private schools were taken to court by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for failing to comply with the tax laws including the payment of the 14% Value Added Tax (VAT) on their service last year.

Commissioner General Godfrey Statia told reporters at a news conference on Thursday, January 25, 2018, that only about six private educational institutions honoured its tax requirements.

“In November [2017], I had to take every single educator except about six persons to court for non-filing of their returns and nonpayment of the taxes they would have collected on behalf of the Revenue Authority,” the GRA Boss disclosed.

Statia further explained that some private schools “take out the taxes from the teachers’ [salary] and then don’t pay [the taxes].”

The GRA Head declined to name the institutions that are in default but noted that these are public records.

Statia also recalled that there was a huge “hue and cry” over the implementation of the education tax and warned parents to be wary of those private schools that will still charge higher fees despite the fact that the tax has been removed.

“You see now that the tax on education has been removed and the fees haven’t gone down. So parents are asked to ensure that they don’t pay VAT now,” he stated.

Private schools have threatened to increase their rates if the Government did not remove the VAT on education and since it was not repealed last year, the school fees were raised.

The Government had anticipated collecting some $300 million from this tax but since a large number of the schools did not pay up, the target was not reached.

Notwithstanding, the GRA Boss said the entity collected about $20 billion more than what was received in 2016. He said Finance Minister, Winston Jordan would be the ideal person to reveal the exact figure the country earned last year.

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