By Kiana Wilburg
After breaking up a multimillion dollar racket, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been able to register over 1000 heavy duty vehicles. This is according to GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia.
He told Kaieteur News that the tax agency is expected to turn its attention to those unregistered heavy duty vehicles in the interior as they have received an overwhelming number of requests.
Statia said, “We have actually registered a fair number of them and we will be sending out the last set of notices next week to advise those who do not comply by end of December, what they would be liable for…Additionally, a request has been made for GRA officers to visit interior locations to register lots more but we have to start that process.”
The GRA Commissioner General reminded that from the year 2010, just about 2600 pieces of heavy duty equipment were imported. But of this amount, only a paltry 319 were on the records of the Guyana Revenue Authority.
Statia said, “From 2010, and moreso from 2012, just about 2600 pieces of heavy duty equipment were imported but GRA only has 319 of those as registered. It means that about 2300 are outside there, some where. Of that number, about 1200 were granted exemptions.
“Those granted exemptions were moved to sectors that were not granted exemptions.”
He explained that some persons received exemptions for heavy duty equipment to be used in the Agriculture Industry. He said that the industry is one which would be granted exemptions.
“But a person buys it for agriculture and sells it the next day to miners and so makes a windfall. But if these things were registered we would know. That is why we want them all registered. We were doing some calculations and we are losing close to $3 billion on it.”
It is for the aforementioned reason that the GRA boss stressed that the area is one which has to be monitored and regulated.
YEARS OF SCHEMING
Kaieteur News understands that for years, there were excavators and other heavy duty machinery and equipment which were not being registered.
Statia had explained, “Registration means you have title, and if you have title it means you can then transfer the title. What happened is that these guys were doing the transfers by way of a Bill of Sale or by way of what you would say Power of Attorney. That is one of the ways in which they have been beating it.
“It is not only with the heavy duty, but even with many other vehicles. Heavy duty vehicles have just been on the forefront for us…so when these excavators go into the interior, if they are not registered, then they cannot be traced.”
The GRA Commissioner stated, “Additionally, some of the equipment that were free of duty based on these tax exemptions should not really have been granted, simply because they were not registered and they could move from one industry to the next…That is a billion-dollar scam that we have come upon.”
Statia said that he has spoken with his staff to make efforts to ensure that there is the registration of all excavators and heavy duty machinery, regardless of the industry it is part of, so as to bring an end to “the present lawlessness.”
Kaieteur News understands that heavy duty equipment and machinery are utilised by most sectors in Guyana. The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) is one of the biggest utilisers of these equipment and machinery along with the mining sector.
Due to the number of unregistered heavy duty vehicles estimated to be out of the loop, the Guyana Revenue Authority commenced an exercise earlier this year, geared towards ensuring registration.
The revenue-collecting body made this known in an advertisement that was published in the Kaieteur News a few months ago.
The Authority outlined in the ad that these heavy duty equipment and vehicles include backhoes, bulldozers, combines, compactors and cranes.
GRA stressed that owners of these heavy duty vehicles and equipment are required to present a motor vehicle registration form and the relevant import documents and Bill of Sale to the Licence Revenue Office, on Camp Street, Georgetown, to facilitate the registration process and thereafter have the vehicles/equipment examined.
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