GRA approves VAT exemption to 60 hinterland airstrips

Last Updated on Wednesday, 8 February 2017, 12:56 by Denis Chabrol

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

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has cleared the way for a number of hinterland airstrips to be exempted from applying the 14 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT). Domestic carriers can now apply to the GRA to effect the exemption for persons living in the identified areas.

Commissioner General of the GRA, Godfrey Statia, during an outreach with miners in Bartica on February 4, pointed out that some 60 airstrips have been identified for VAT exemption.

“It is too hard to administer and I would not be going to the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs to find out who is living in certain areas and to give them specific charges,” Statia was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

The identification of the airstrips is intended to simplify the application of the VAT exemption. This new measure is still to be formalised.

Domestic carriers have raised concerns about VAT on domestic travel particularly into the hinterland.

Statia said that the decision was reached after meeting with domestic air travel operators.  “I have exempted about 60 (domestic airstrips) after discussion with the aircraft association and the rest, once you do not show you live there you will have to pay the tax,” Statia said.

The application of the reduced VAT took effect on February 1, 2017.

According to the list of exemptions published on the GRA’s website, “services of transporting passengers or goods by air from one place in Guyana to another place in Guyana,” is exempted “subject to the signing of an agreement between the government and the provider of the service for persons living in rural areas.”