Jul 11, 2017 News
…766 delinquent taxpayers not filing returns
As 766 taxpayers remain delinquent by failing to file their tax returns, the Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority has said that there is need for data cleansing within the institution.
That number is the revised amount following a previous report of there being 1,509 taxpayers registered with GRA who failed to file returns. according to the Report of the Auditor General for the year 2015.
The Auditor General’s office had recommended that the Department put systems in place to ensure that taxpayers comply fully with the requirements of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act concerning the filing of returns.
According to information provided to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday by officials of the GRA, the recorded 1,509 included persons that were de-registered and those pending de-registration from GRA.
Based on steps taken to have the defaulting taxpayers file their returns promptly and comply with the requirements of the VAT Act, it was said that a letter of demand is usually sent to the various persons asking for the submission of the returns.
Failure to do this, legal action is instituted against the defaulting taxpayer. Further, the Commissioner-General confirmed that the new figure is the updated position as of yesterday.
However, he could not agree that the 1,509 which was reported at the time of the 2015 figure was correct to begin with. His reason for taking this position is that the Total Revenue Integrated Processing System (TRIPS) system used by GRA is riddled with errors.
He said that if reports are taken from the system, a lot of errors would be recorded. As such, the GRA boss said that there needed to be some reconciliation with what has been transpiring in the TRIPS system and what is being done manually. The TRIPS system is a computerised system being used by GRA since 2007.
Statia was asked if the reconciliation could not have been done at the time of the audit. He said that it should have been addressed. Statia said that there were a number of issues which needed to be addressed prior to the report being done, that were not dealt with. He said that he was aghast when he realised that a number of issues were not addressed.
Statia became the head of GRA in July 2016. He said that if corrective actions were taken, these errors would not have found their way into the Auditor General’s report. He said that the TRIPS system will continue to be riddled with errors until it is fixed.
Further, he said that his team has endeavoured that there will not be a reoccurrence this year. Statia said that when he took office as Commissioner-General, he immediately summoned the Crown Agents responsible for the TRIPS system. He said that what was found was that the Crown Agents were looking at TRIPS in an all-encompassing way. According to Statia, the GRA prefers the system to be implemented by module.
Statia said that if this was done, VAT, Customs and certain parts of internal revenue would have been working well. However, he said that the agents were instead working to ‘turn-up’ all the systems simultaneously.
He said that instructions were then given to cease and to be provided with a timeline of the modules being ‘turned-up’. He said that when this was done, the GRA prioritised which module should be implemented first.
It was found that the internal revenue modules made more sense to implement first. Hence, attention was placed on the internal revenues which enable the GRA to do operations such as E-filing and adequately look at assessments of returns.
He said that in the case of VAT, there are less than 4000 persons of which close to 1000 should have been de-registered. Statia said that it was decided that the manual system would have worked best in conjunction with what TRIPS had to offer. As a result, TRIPS is now moving to a place where it should be, Statia said.
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