Dec 01, 2016 News
– Online services such as filing annual income tax returns to be tested
– Ports of entry to be established at Parika, Charity, Eteringbang and Morawhanna
– Fixed scanner to be procured
By Kiana Wilburg
Over the years, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has faced its fair share of criticisms regarding the need for its services to be improved.
But come 2017, the Government has in store, a menu of measures that are geared towards improving the efficiency of the revenue earning entity.
According to Finance Minister Winston Jordan in his 2017 budget, several key tax and administrative reforms will be undertaken by the GRA, in pursuit of improved tax administration for Value Added Tax (VAT), customs and internal revenue, in the context of a client-friendly and business-friendly environment.
Expounding on the measures to improve the entity, Jordan noted that a recent Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) study highlighted that approximately 20 percent of large corporate entities account for approximately 80 percent of revenue collection.
In recognition of this, he said that GRA will be establishing a dedicated unit to focus on all major tax administration functions of these entities. These include, but are not limited to, monitoring compliance with their filing and payment obligations, audit, enforcing collection of arrears, and taxpayer services.
Coupled with the above, the Finance Minister said that certain e-services will be tested by mid-2017, with a view of going live before the end of the year. Jordan said that it is Government’s intention that every citizen should be able to access tax-related services on the internet and conduct transactions such as applying for a motor vehicle registration and driver’s licence, and file their annual income tax returns.
The Finance Minister noted that this initiative will allow citizens to initiate transactions from the comfort of their homes and reduce the time spent for a trip to the GRA offices.
Furthermore, to expand the coverage to all citizens as well as to optimize revenue collections, Government will be increasing the number of services offered by GRA across all of its branches.
At a minimum, Jordan said that 13 different services will be guaranteed at each of its locations across the country, by the second half of 2017, including the issuance of drivers’ and motor vehicle licences, VAT registration, tax refund processing, and tax advisory sensitization.
Additionally, the Finance Minister said that ports of entry will be established at Parika, Charity, Eteringbang, and Morawhanna, and a supplementary branch office will be opened in the New Year.
In the area of customs and excise, the Finance Minister said that GRA will be introducing a trusted trader programme, in order to contribute to the ease of doing business and facilitate private sector growth.
He said that applicants to the programme will be awarded periodic certifications, if they are able to demonstrate regular compliance and adherence to the rules and procedures of GRA’s customs and excise facilities.
The Finance Minister said that a certified trusted trader will be able to benefit from faster clearing of containers on the wharves and improved lead and lag times associated with the clearing of goods.
Jordan said this will be supplemented by 33 post-clearance activities and will be used to verify accuracy and authenticity of declarations, thereby moving from a transaction-based control environment to a stronger risk-based audit administration.
Additionally, to facilitate both import and export scanning activities, and also to meet international trade guidelines, Jordan said that the Government has taken steps to procure a fixed scanner, to bolster the capacity of the Authority.
Arising from the failure of the current Total Revenue Integrated Processing System (TRIPS) software to provide complete solutions for effective customs administration, Jordan said that the GRA will be moving to use more modern software. Jordan said that a customized and proven customs solution called the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), with single platform window services will soon be implemented.
The Finance Minister said that not only will this facilitate electronic manifests, but it will also reduce under-invoicing and transfer pricing that is prevalent. With the implementation of ASYCUDA, expected by the end of 2017, Jordan said that current commercial operations will be automated. He said that this will result in improved services for trade, increased customs control capabilities, strengthened accounting and statistical capabilities, full risk-assessment and selectivity capabilities, and fully automated workflow management.
“We are also improving the efficiency of our international trade transactions to harmonize both local and foreign interactions. The Government is moving to implement the 2017 Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS 2017), which will better align our Revenue Authority with international practices and uniformly apply the HS tariff codes for imported and exported goods.”
The economist said that the country is slated to be among the first to implement HS 2017, which will result in reduced costs and improved trade facilitation. Legislation to effect HS 2017 will be presented to the National Assembly in the coming fiscal year.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
Feb 24, 2024Kaieteur Sports – As the Jumbo Jet Thoroughbred Racing Committee (JJTRC) eagerly prepares for the much-anticipated Mashramani Horse Race event this Sunday, February 25, the racing community is...
Feb 24, 2024
Feb 24, 2024
Feb 24, 2024
Feb 24, 2024
Feb 24, 2024
By Sir Ronald Sanders In today’s complex global landscape, peace and prosperity face significant threats due to a blatant... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.