…as amendment passed
On Wednesday, this newspaper published a photograph depicting a long line leading to the Departure Tax booth at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
Yesterday Minister of Finance Winston Jordan gave assurances that this shall be no more when the National Assembly passed amendments to the Tax Act Cap. 80:01, which speaks to a Travel Tax.
The amendment is to Section 56 of the Act which will now give power to the Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority to appoint agents for the collection of travel tax and for the remission of the tax to the Commissioner.
Carriers or collection agents who fail to remit travel tax to the Commissioner-General or a carrier who fails to remit travel tax to an agent or the Commissioner-General will be liable to a penalty.
According to Jordan, Guyana has been way behind in making these changes. He said that just before passengers proceed to the immigration department at the CJIA, they have to stop at the tax booth where they would pay $4,000 and receive a ticket.
“This $4,000 as you will know is called the departure tax and has really two parts, $2,500 is for the travel tax and being generous to a sister organisation, and $1,500 is collected by the airport as a security tax.”
He said that this process is slightly different at the Eugene Correia International Airport (ECIA) at Ogle, East Coast Demerara whereby a traveller proceeding to an external destination is only required to pay $2,500 in keeping with the travel tax requirements of 1998. There is no requirement to pay a security fee; Jordan said he cannot say how much longer this will be so.
The Finance Minister explained that at ECIA, passengers can only pay in cash. He said that Guyana may be the last country in the Caribbean where persons are required to pay departure tax at a booth.
The Minister said that now the tax can either be collected by an airline or a collection agent instead of a booth at the two airports. He said that based on information received, the Commissioner-General of GRA is already in talks with an airline and collection agent to begin this process. The collection agent is expected to be International Air Transport Agency (IATA).
He explained that the cost will be attached to the airline ticket when persons make their purchase and the money owed to the Commissioner will be remitted to the GRA on such occasions and time agreed. Jordan said that this new procedure will eliminate one of the lines when travelling abroad.
He said that the other three lines, Check-in, Immigration and boarding cannot be controlled by the government since they are compulsory.
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