The clampdown by authorities to ensure they collect a fair share of the taxes that are due is making some headway.
According to Commissioner-General, Godfrey Statia, last week, at least 80 businesses in Robb Street, Georgetown, which once fell below the VAT radar, are now registered.
The disclosure would give an indication of how much of a problem GRA is facing when it comes to collecting revenue.
Speaking during a press conference at the entitys Camp Street headquarters, the GRA head noted that the problem in Robb Street is not an isolated one. Rather, it is occurring all over Guyana.
Despite GRAs announcing that the VAT ceiling for reporting was moved from $10M to $15M in annual sales, hundreds of businesses have not registered and are therefore not paying.
Consumers, however, are faced with being burdened with paying the VAT which is attached to prices. This money is pocketed by the businesses as profits.
GRA has promised to get behind the businesses that are not complying.
The collection agency is also facing another problem. Quite a number of businesses are not charging VAT and are not even registered. They are importing, buying foreign currencies and making little contribution to the economy, Statia pointed out.
Fortunately, GRA has one thing that is going for it. A number of upset businesses, who are complying, are passing on information to GRA about the guilty businesses.
The tax chief said that cooperation is helping to level the playing field and paving the way to collect more. This will eventually lead to a reduction of tax rates.
The issue seems to have upset GRA as well. With 10 regions, limited resources and corruption, GRAs job of tax collection is not made easy.
“It should be noted that GRA will be dispatching its enforcement officers to ensure compliance with the law.
“The authority, meanwhile, is advising businesses to take corrective actions in such cases. Consumers are also being urged to assist in being vigilant and report entities that fail to adhere to the changes in the prices of goods and services.”
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