11 laws to be changed before tax measures in Budget 2017 take effect

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 December 2016, 8:45 by Derwayne Wills

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan.

11 laws will be amended to support tax provisions made in budget 2017, and those proposed amendments were tabled by Finance Minister Winston Jordan in the National Assembly on tuesday.

Provisions to be amended included those within the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act; Customs Act; VAT Act; Capital Gains Tax Act; Corporation Tax Act; Income Tax (In Aid of Industry) Act; Income Tax Act; Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act; Miscellaneous Licenses Act; Tax Act; and the Travel Voucher Tax Act.

The Finance Minister had promised to have those proposed amendments printed and presented in the National Assembly by Tuesday afternoon, however, failure to do so prompted Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira to remind the House tuesday evening of the Finance Minister’s commitment.

Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Barton Scotland related to Teixeira tuesday evening “there were some technical issues associated with the printing of the item… that has now been overcome and we’ve been promised early in the morning we’ll receive the documents for distribution. Clearly, this is discomforting but it was just out of our hands so to speak.”

Opposition Chief Whip Teixeira during a press conference yesterday afternoon explained the Bills still were not presented to the House. Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, during that press conference, touched on the impact of the still-to-be-amended laws on budget 2017 provisions.

“Some of these measures were supposed to be effective January 1,” he said during a press conference yesterday at the Public Buildings, “I want to hope that the final version of these proposals would reflect the advocacy and the strong push that the PPP made.”

Jagdeo questioned, as throughout budget debates, one of the proposed amendments to the Value-Added Tax laws which would possibly see the Guyana Revenue Authority garnishing taxpayers’ bank accounts without a court order, similarly barring tax defaulters from leave the jurisdiction. “I think they may back down on a few of these things,” the Opposition Leader continued.

The National Assembly resumes Sittings on January 5, 2017 to deliberate on the proposed laws to be amended. Jagdeo said all of the budget’s measures would not be effective from January 1, but instead from February 1.

“Some of them depending on the passage [of the Bills],” he noted, adding that even with a reduction of proposed tax collections from a full 12 months to 11 months, the state will still draw in a significant amount of revenue from taxpayers “because they grossly underestimated the revenue they will get from those measures.”