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Tax return amnesty for companies, individuals; small businesses to get provisional licences

Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Godfrey Statia. In background is Finance Minister, Winston Jordan.

Companies and individuals have been granted an amnesty to file outstanding tax returns, but if they file bogus returns they will be penalized, Finance Minister Winston Jordan announced.

“Taxpayers who expect to benefit from this amnesty must file true and correct returns. Those found to be in violation will be subject to an audit and the attendant penalties and interest will be applied.” he told the National Assembly in the 2018 National Budget presentation.

He said the amnesty to all corporate and individual taxpayers who have not yet filed true and correct tax returns and paid their taxes, would have between January 1 and September 30, 2018 to do so.

He explained that taxpayers, who file and pay all principal taxes on or before June 30, 2018, will have all interest and penalties waived.

Those, he said, who file and pay all principal taxes between July 01, 2018 and September 30, 2018 will have 50 percent of interest and penalties waived.

He cautioned that the  Guyana Revenue Authority “will be devoting increased resources to enforcement of the income tax laws.”

In the longer term, he said in certain circumstances the Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority would grant permission for companies to file  draft management ahead of the filing of the audited accounts on or before December 31st of the year in which the return falls due.

“Mr. Speaker, over the years, many companies have habitually filed their corporate tax returns after the due date of April 30, thereby incurring needless penalties and interest.

Provisional Licences

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister announced a temporary removal of  administrative stumbling blocks to the granting of licences mainly for small businesses such as grocery shops, variety Stores, and snackettes. “After careful consideration of the current requirements, I propose that a Provisional Licence be issued for a period not exceeding two years, for premises…” he said.  He stressed that in addition, upon expiration of the Provisional Licence, no extension will be granted. This measure takes effect from January 1, 201

He said the decision was taken after figures showed that there are a large number of businesses that operate without licences, because of the difficulties in obtaining some of the requirements, including approved building plans, and safety and sanitary certificates. “Many of them businesses have constantly approached the GRA with a view of having their businesses registered.

Jordan explained that the Provisional Licence cannot be used to acquire any additional licence such as a Liquor Licence.