By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is gearing up to accelerate its drive to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes.
At a recent press conference, GRA Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia said that his critics have pointed out his failure in not going after certain professionals. He said that it is not a case in which the Authority is turning a blind eye on certain professionals, but more of a situation where it is lacks the human resources needed to undertake the task.
He said, too, that GRA has other priorities to satisfy before turning its attention to professionals who are withholding taxes.
“We have to prioritize based on the staff we had, but the professionals will be tackled. I explained the rationale for tackling the professionals; we have to deal with what is called presumptive taxation,” said Statia.
Presumptive taxation is referred to as a form of assessing tax liability using indirect methods such as income reconstruction or by applying base-line taxation across the entire tax base.
Presumptive methods of taxation are thought to be effective in reducing tax avoidance as well as equalizing the distribution of the tax burden.
Commissioner General Statia said that GRA currently lacks the capability of engaging in presumptive taxation.
However, that is not expected to be the case much longer as Statia indicated that the Authority is mobilizing their employees to be able to undertake the task.
“We are training our officers in presumptive taxation so we will be going after the professionals.”
These types of professionals referred to by Statia would include Attorneys at law, medical professionals, accountants, architects, civil engineers, land surveyors among others, once their money is not taxed at source.
The Commissioner General said that the tax system will become better for all, once presumptive taxation begins and the GRA gets to bring those professionals in line.
He told reporters, “Our emphasis is to widen the tax base because as long as we widen the tax base and everyone pays their rightful tax, it means that the tax rates are going to go down.”
Statia continued, “It is unfortunate that only the employees are paying the rightful tax because it is being deducted at source.
It is time we get the tax machinery going in such a manner where everybody will be paying their rightful tax; no more, no less and things will be work smoothly.”
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