Parking meter company, Finance Minister at odds over VAT

Last Updated on Monday, 30 January 2017, 23:13 by Denis Chabrol

Smart City Solutions (SCS), operators of parking meters in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, Monday night said tax officials must charge the 16 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on the payment cards, hours after Finance Minister, Winston Jordan said the tax should be payable on the parking time purchased.

“The company received a visit this (Monday) evening from three GRA officers all of whom said we must charge VAT,” SCS spokesman, Kit Nascimento told Demerara Waves Online News. He added that SCS’ chartered accountant has also said that the company should charge VAT on the parking meter cards.

He assured that a second set of VAT is not charged on the time purchased by motorists. “When the card is applied, you are not charged again. You are already charged once,” he said.

The Finance Minister earlier Monday night told the House that “an advisory would be going out as it relates to VAT being paid on cards for parking. That is an error on the part of SCS or the people who are running it. It is incorrect.” Jordan said the VAT should be charged on parking time purchased at the meters. “The VAT is only supposed to go on the parking itself in the same way as how you treat the telephone cards.”

The SCS spokesman, however, said the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) advised the parking meter company that it should charge VAT, but should ask the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) whether it could be exempted from that tax. “The company would welcome being exempted from charging VAT,” he said

Nascimento said for weeks now company representatives have been awaiting a meeting with GRA Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia. Now, he said SCS wants to also meet with the Finance Minister.

The SCS spokesman said the Finance Minister’s position in the National Assembly on Monday contrasts with what the company has been told. “We hear the Minister of Finance saying we shouldn’t even be charging VAT which is in conflict with everything we are told the company should be doing,” Nascimento said.

Since the commencement of paid parking, few motorists are parking in the City’s central business district.