GRA denies collecting $217 billion in taxes for 2018

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The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Thursday denied that it had collected $217 billion in taxes for 2018, as claimed by a media house in reporting on the 2018 Auditor General’s report which was presented to House Speaker Dr Barton Scotland.

The GRA’s Commissioner-General Godfrey Statia said too he was “flummoxed” to learn that media houses are in possession of the Auditor General’s Final Report for 2018 and he, “as a key auditee” did not receive a final version of such report.

“This represents a breach of confidentiality; a fundamental tenet in the work and life of a professional auditor and is tantamount to professional negligence on his part, should such a leakage emanate from his Agency.

“Such negligence is surely one of the many criteria which would have allowed for sanctions were he a Professional Accountant,” Statia stated.

He said GRA’s total collection for the fiscal year 2018 was $198.5 billion.

Statia said that since Budgets 2016 / 2017, no new taxes were rolled out in any of the subsequent budgets.

“Conversely, the GRA, in pursuit of vertical and horizontal equity in taxation, successfully advocated for the reduction of tax rates and removal of tax base that was creating compliance burden on taxpayers,” Statia stated.

He added: “In addition, a number of items in the annual Budgets are always removed from the standard rated category to the exempt and zero rated categories.

“With reduced bases and reduced tax rates for both individuals and companies in the manufacturing sector leading to reductions in the effective rates of taxation, the GRA did not introduce any new tax type to compensate for any shortfalls in revenue forfeited as a result of these measures.”

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