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Environmental tax on water, beverage containers payable from Feb 1

Local and imported bottled water and beverages are likely to cost more from February 1, 2017 when the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) begins imposing a GYD$10 per bottle environmental on non-returnable containers.

“The levy which accords with amendments to Section 7A(1) of the Customs Act Ch 82:01 will be applicable to non-returnable units imported, locally manufactured or produced in Guyana,” the GRA said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Customs  Act provides for the levy to be charged on every non-returnable unit of metal, plastic or glass container of any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage or water, whether imported, locally manufactured or produced in Guyana.

“The levy also applies to the aforementioned products whether they are imported and not warehoused or imported and removed from a warehouse, factory, bond or other place of storage. Exports on the other hand are exempt from environmental levy,” the GRA added.

The tax agency said the the Environmental Levy is in “keeping with government’s broad agenda to promote a green economy and protect the environment.”

A previously imposed Environmental Levy on imported beverages, including those made in sister Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states, had been deemed by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as discriminatory and in violation of regional trade rules because local companies had not been charged the tax.

As a result, the Surinamese beverage company, Rudisa Beverages and Juices NV secured a CCJ judgement for Guyana to repay US$6 million in environmental tax that had been paid.

Attorney General, Basil Williams said on Wednesday that the Trinidad-headquartered beverage company, SM Jaleel,  is making a similar demand based on Rudisa’s legal victory.