By Abena Rockcliffe- Campbell
While this does not guarantee a complete end to a practice perpetuated by Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) workers that hampers investigations, the Authority is looking to digitize tax records as a means of clamping down on such unpatriotic and corrupt operations.
Commissioner-General of the GRA, Godfrey Statia, made it no secret that he inherited a less than clean institution.
At his most recent press conference, Statia made no qualms to note that GRA’s administration is well aware of the fact that there are those who would undermine the Authority whenever investigations are being done on friends, family or even affiliates.
He said that it has been noticed that files would suddenly disappear whenever an investigation is launched. According to Statia, the Authority has already begun digitization of taxpayers’ records to deter such interferences.
Statia said, “We have found, in the past, that as long as an investigation started the records disappear. We are scanning every one (of the documents) so if they disappear we will have the scanned copy in the system.”
Seemingly forthright, Statia continued, “We know that we lose records, we are being truthful, and we know the society in which we operate.”
While this is a problem that dates back to the time of Commissioner General Khurshid Sattaur, Statia is the first Commissioner General to admit to the issue and seek to address it in this manner.
Also, Statia indicated that the GRA is looking to make easier transactions relating to the Value Added Tax (VAT). He told reporters, “We are looking at internal revenue and VAT. As far as I am aware, by the end of the year we will be in a position to facilitate filing of both VAT return and income tax return so that the long lines we see will be minimized.”
Many countries around the world are moving in the direction of digitalization of tax records and tax filing systems. However, some countries are going more advanced with their technologies than others.
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