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“There would be no amnesty” for Guyana Stores Limited- Tax Chief

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Tuesday ruled out granting an amnesty to Guyana Stores Limited (GSL) and has since asked that company to submit all outstanding tax returns and sign a deal to settle a GY$3.8 billion dollar tax debt after losing a recent appeal at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

“There would be no amnesty for this particular taxpayer…sorry to report there would be none,” GRA Commissioner-General, Godfrey Statia said.

He added that GSL’s shareholder has been asked to “provide us with a settlement proposal” because it is not in the tax agency’s interest to seize or close businesses.

He noted that in addition to principal tax debt of GYS$3.8 billion, there is a “sizeable” penalties and interest.  He said the GRA had been initially prepared to accept a minimum payment of GY$300 million.

Now that the 30 days have been expired before a settlement could be reached, he said the GSL shareholder has asked for until April 30, 2018- the deadline for filing eight years of corporate tax returns.

The GRA in early March won an appeal before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) against GSL on whether a two percent minimum corporation tax was unconstitutional and amounted to the taking away of private property.

That case had dated back to May 2012 when GSL  had received a demand notice from the GRA’s Commissioner-General for  GY$3,807,346,397.

The CCJ has ruled that the minimum two percent corporation tax as enacted by the National Assembly was not a forced loan , as argued by  GSL and that tax was constitutional. GSL, according to the Trinidad-headquartered court, further ruled should not be permitted to invoke the constitutional jurisdiction of the Courts by arguing that an alleged misapplication of a law is unconstitutional.