Last Updated on Friday, 6 February 2015, 19:22 by GxMediaThe Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced that it dropped tax evasion charges against Kaieteur News publisher Glen Lall and two remigrants in exchange for paying up the outstanding taxes on two Lexus SUVs.
The remigrant couple, Narootandeo and Gharbassi Brijnanan, were jointly charged along with Glenn and his wife, Bhena, for tax fraud surrounding two Lexus vehicles.
The tax agency explained that it has agreed to accept compensation in lieu of or in substitution for proceedings in a court of summary jurisdiction in-keeping with the provision of Sections 36 and 271 of the Customs Act Chapter 82:01.
“After some discussions, we were agreeable with the proposal put before us, as we are more inclined to amicable resolutions rather than litigious ones. Notwithstanding, we are prepared to go the distance to protect tax revenues,” Commissioner-General, Mr. Khurshid Sattaur was quoted as saying..
The organisation says it notes the article which appeared in the Guyana Times of Friday January 6, 2015 and wishes to advise that too much media publicity in tax matters that require some degree of confidentiality can negatively impact such cases, and force persons to resolve matters out of court by way of compensation, when they are found to be in contravention of the Act or any regulations made thereunder. Mr. Sattaur said that tax offenders have the prerogative of settling matters out of court, which is provided for in law to avoid severe penalty which could include imprisonment.
He said that as part of its vision and mission, the organisation seeks to first promote voluntary compliance to ward off enforcement action. “Even when enforcement action becomes necessary, the Authority seeks an approach that lends to achieving efficiency and certainty in the tax dispute resolution process. In this case, like others, we have chosen the traditional method of alternative dispute resolution which is less costly, less time consuming and is not resource depleting,” Mr. Sattaur said.
The Commissioner-General further pointed out that the current laws are not stringent to allow for prosecution as weaknesses developed because the Scheme is governed more by policy rather than law. He said that recommendations were sent to the policy makers to have certain set of laws amended to strengthen the conditions to be satisfied before and after remigrant status is granted.
Regarding similar matters that are pending, Mr. Sattaur said that when the time comes the Authority will take the necessary action in accordance with the law.
The GRA is once again reminding the taxpaying public that concessions are not granted without impositions or fetter, but have statutory preconditions as well as conditions as to the use of those concessions.
Taxpayers have rights, and the GRA views the use of the court by persons to challenge the actions taken by the agency as a right or entitlement. Notwithstanding, the Authority will do its part to protect the integrity of its operations, said he GRA.
Again, the GRA urges those who are contemplating making use of concession schemes to be cognizant of the laws including anti money laundering legislation, regulations, international agreements and policies governing same as there are serious consequences once found guilty of violating the laws pertaining to such offences.