…by not issuing receipts
Several complaints have been received by this publication regarding a number of businesses within the city of Georgetown not giving receipts to customers who make purchases.
This newspaper was informed that such businesses are refusing to issue receipts so as to under report income in order to avoid paying the necessary taxes. Only last week, a Kaieteur News staffer purchased a pair of slippers at a Water Street store and was not given a receipt even after asking for the bill of sale.
One shopper said that she had made a purchase of deodorant, disposable razors and soap powder at a downtown store but was not given a receipt.
This is a problem which seems to continue plaguing the economic sphere of Guyana whereby income taxes by some businesses are manipulated to reflect a lower amount of total sales. Equally worrying is that some stores are charging VAT on items but are not remitting that to the Guyana Revenue Authority.
Five years ago this newspaper had reported on a number of businesses who were flouting tax laws by not issuing receipts. Businesses apparently keep two books to fool the revenue collection agency.
According to some members of the private sector foreign owned businesses particularly were doing everything in and out of the books to rob the country of taxes due. When Kaieteur News spoke to one shopper yesterday, he said he has had this experience specifically at businesses owned by foreign nationals.
In addition to not issuing receipts, some businesses offer not to give customers a receipt saying that if agreed, no tax would be charged on the item. Quite a number of persons have been lured into this arrangement and as such stand to lose since the item cannot be returned to the store if found to be defective.
It was reported that the practice has continued since it is difficult for Government to address the issue because the Chinese Government is making several loans available to Guyana for a number of projects.
In 2014 the Commissioner General of GRA Khurshid Sattaur had urged shoppers to request a receipt from any store they would have purchased items. He pointed out that tax payers play a vital role in helping to police the laws and ensure that taxes are collected.
Failing to do so would give business owners who are higher income earners immunity from the law. When the current Commissioner-General of GRA, Godfrey Statia, was contacted on the matter he said that once provided with the names and addresses of the businesses, an investigation would be launched.
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