A Guyanese has been elected to serve as President to the Caribbean Organisation of Tax Administrators (COTA) Executive Council for the third time in its history.
The country recently hosted the 23rd General Assembly and Technical Conference of COTA during which Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, delivered the featured address.
Guyana also hosted the meeting of the Executive Council.
Upon conclusion of the conference on July 25, Deanah Matthias, Deputy Commissioner (ag), Inland Revenue – Tax Operations & Services, Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), through a democratic process, was elected to serve as president of the Regional Body for the next two years.
According to GRA, the major benefit of Guyana holding the Presidency of COTA is that the country will be able to set the regional agenda for Tax Administrators for the next two years. Guyana will also head the body that forms the Standard Advisory Committee on Tax Administration, and act as a liaison between Tax Administrations and CARICOM for the provision of services to the region.
The aim of the bi-annual General Assembly and technical conference is to provide COTA members with a forum to meet, discuss and deliberate on a number of Tax issues, exchange ideas and share experiences on challenges faced by Tax Administrations in the Region.
According to GRA, among the issues addressed at the five-day conference was “Improving Resource Mobilization for Growth in the Region”, “Reforming Tax Revenue Administration to meet the Demand for Higher Fiscal Revenues”, “Capturing the Underground Economy in the Tax Net”, “Current issues in Tax Administration and Broadening CARICOM towards Generating Higher Revenues”, and “Innovative Solutions for Simplification of Tax Administration Reform and Delinquent Taxpayers: Detection of Stop Filers and Collection of Arrears.”
The more current issues addressed were the establishment of Revenue Authorities in member states and the implementation of Value Added Tax, since most of the countries are aiming to implement this tax in one form or the other in the near future.
“Guyana’s input was particularly important in the discussions on the implementation of a Revenue Authority: the Caribbean experience since Guyana was the first country in the region to successfully implement a Revenue Authority.”
GRA said that in addition to the daily conferences, delegates were also treated to the ‘Guyana Experience’ where social activities such as a Nature Tour, Cultural Night, Theatre Night, and a Tour of the GRA’s Headquarters were planned in an effort to showcase the beauty and diversity of Guyana and to give delegates a firsthand look at the operations of the GRA.
“At the end of the five-day conference, the Delegates collectively signaled their satisfaction at the success of the conference hosted by Guyana. It has been thirty years since Guyana last hosted the COTA General Assembly and Technical Conference.”
The conference which officially opened on July 21, 2014 was held under the theme: Efficient Tax Administration as a Catalyst for Growth and Development in CARICOM.
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