Nov 29, 2016 News
Government has announced a number of tax increases. During his budget speech yesterday to the National Assembly, Finance Minister Winston Jordan unveiled plans to make the taxes more equitable. The changes include the following:
Travel Tax: The minister stated that the Departure Tax payable by persons leaving Guyana has remained unchanged for years. As a result, it is amongst the lowest in the world. “I, therefore, propose to increase the travel tax from $2,500 to $3,500. I wish to announce, too, that measures will be implemented to enable airlines to collect and remit the tax to the Revenue Authority, thereby making for one less departure line at our airports, and reducing the cost and administrative burden on the GRA (Guyana Revenue Authority) while ensuring consistency with international practices in the travel industry.”
Premium Tax on Re-insurance Premiums for Local Aircraft Operators – Jordan disclosed that based on representations made by the Aircraft Association, the Government has acceded to their request to waive premium taxes charged on insurance premiums payable by aircraft owners and accumulated for the past eight years.
“The loss is $80 million, but we believe it will stimulate growth and improve flights to interior locations. It is proposed that the tax will be now payable from January 1, 2017.”
Capital Gains Tax – In moving the property tax valuation to 1/1/2011 as per the Property Tax Act in 2014, the Capital Gains Tax Act was inadvertently left unchanged, thereby allowing for taxation not in keeping with the taxation principles on the calculation of Capital Gains.
“I believe that this inadvertence has created an unfair burden on persons selling properties that were re-valued. Consequently, I propose a change in the relevant sections of the Capital Gains Tax Act to bring them in line with the Property Tax valuations,” the Finance Minister said in his budget speech.
Fee for Passport – It was proposed to increase the fee for a passport from $4,000 to $6,000. “However, persons 65 years and above will be exempt from the payment of the passport fee. This measure takes effect from January 1, 2017.”
Abolishment of Certificate of Compliance to process Transfer of Motor Vehicle Registration – It was proposed to dispense with the requirement for Motor Vehicle Compliance, since this will reduce the duplication of documents submitted to GRA and the processing time for the completion of transfer of registration.
“At the same time, it is proposed to increase fees for transfer of motor vehicle registration for motor cycle and other vehicles, ranging from $5,000 for motor cycles to $25,000 or 2% of sale price, whichever is higher.”
Fees for permits & other documents –According to the minister, Government is also moving to impose a fee of $2,000 for a Driving Permit issued to drivers residing abroad but visiting the country temporarily, and $2,000 for persons requiring a Letter of Authenticity for verification of drivers’ licences.
Miscellaneous fees – There are also changes in the number of other Customs fees which are over 20 years old and cannot cover the administrative and other costs attached to performing the service, the Finance Minister said.
“I propose to amend Section 275 of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01 to bring these fees in line with current reality.”
The increase in fees includes application and renewal of Intoxicating Liquor Licences. These fees were in existence since 1992 and increase in penalties. These include for the application and renewal fees for hotel and restaurants, members clubs, spirit shops and off-licences. The application for a licence will double to $10,000 while renewals will go up from $500 to $2,000.
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