-income tax returns now possible electronically
By Leonard Gildarie
Following announcements of an impending ban on the importation of used tyres and stricter measures to collect taxes, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced a series of public activities.
According to notices last week, the agency which collects taxes on behalf of the state, said that on Wednesday a critical meeting to discuss the ban will be held at its Camp Street Headquarters.
The meeting with the importers of used tyres will be held at 10:00 am in the 5th Floor Training Room.
GRA, in its notice, said that the focus of the meeting will be to discuss restrictions on the importation of used tyres for cars, minibus and pick-up tyres.
“The Revenue Authority recognizes the relevance and value of the contribution of importers to the achievement of the objectives of the organization and is committed to facilitating their involvement in its work and activities,” GRA said.
During the recent passage of the 2016 National Budget, Government announced a number of measures with regard to imported vehicles and tyres.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, announced that Government will be moving to ban the importation of used tyres and lower the taxes on new ones to ensure they are affordable.
Jordan also announced that there will be a removal of the Excise Tax on motor vehicles that are under four years old and 1500cc. These vehicles currently attract Excise Tax at the rate of 30 percent with an effective tax rate of 118.7 percent. With this removal, Jordan explained, the effective tax rate will be reduced to 68.2 percent.
Another major impact from the budget would be the reduction of excise tax from 50 percent to 10 percent on motor vehicles under four years old – that is for vehicles between 1500cc and under 2000cc. The effective tax rate of 152.3 percent for this category will be reduced to 85 percent.
From May 1, the Finance Minister also announced, there will be restriction on the importation of used and/or re-conditioned vehicles older than eight years old from the date of manufacture to the date of importation.
However, the announcements were met with protests from tyre and used car importers.
The country has scores of used tyres importers with containers being shipped in monthly.
Government in justifying its decision on the used tyres cited safety and environmental concerns.
However, importers have been arguing that there are no scientific data locally that link used tyres to accidents.
Government has said that the importers will be allowed to liquidate their stocks.
With regard to used cars importations, dealers have warned that from calculations, the restrictions of vehicles eight years and older will in effect make it unaffordable for the normal family as new cars cost more, even in the face of a reduction in the excise tax.
Meanwhile, GRA also announced that it is now possible to complete the Individual Income Tax Return electronically.
Previously, the returns had only been available for manual completion and submission.
With a new Board of Directors and changes in its management, GRA has been setting itself a number of targets.
Initial reviews by the Board found a number of worrying things when it came to the country’s tax collections.
The reviews hinted that key commercial areas were showing worrying low collection compared to other depressed areas.
Lucas said that non-compliance existed especially among self-employed persons.
It is believed that Guyana collected only about 60 percent of the taxes it is due.
In the coming weeks, GRA said in its notices last week, it is heading to Berbice to conduct three days of workshop starting tomorrow.
“The workshops will focus on, but are not limited to, discussions on Income Tax Deductions and Ascertaining Chargeable Income based on NIS Deductions.”
The workshops will be held at Tiara’s Academy, Trinity Street, New Amsterdam from 9:30hours to 11:00hours and 13:30hours to 15:00hours and Tuesday March 8, 2016 — New Amsterdam Technical Institute, New Amsterdam from 13:30hours to 15:00hours.Businesses, GRA is also asking self-employed persons and individual taxpayers who are interested in attending the workshops to contact its Communication & Tax Advisory Services Division.
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