I pen this letter with grave disappointment at the Management of the private school (name provided) that my child attends. I would have done my research (liaising with other Private Schools and the GRA) regarding the advance payment of January to April School fees and the removal of VAT from School Fees effective January 1, 2018.
Please note that when I pay school fees for my child in advance, it is at the request of the school for reasons of which I am not aware of… fair enough, school policies.
Paying school fees in advance does not take away from the fact that that particular school’s fees become effective from when the school term commences. The January to April school term commenced on January 8, 2018, when the school fees paid would have taken effect. This would therefore mean that the VAT included in advance school fees also takes effect from January 2018. According to the Guyana Revenue Authority personnel and their website, all VAT for January 2018 is payable on/before February 21, 2018. Also, it annotates that advance payment of fees does not warrant collection of taxes for fees that are effective in January 2018.
This would mean that one would have to exhaust the month of January before taxes are collectable. Now, I’m appalled by the flimsy excuse (Please don’t belittle my intelligence) made by the school’s Accountant (during a school meeting) that advance fees were already paid to GRA. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that that excuse is quite unacceptable, bearing the facts I just stated earlier.
However, that’s the least reason why I am disappointed. Some people choose to believe that Private School is a luxury (every man to his own opinion) but I know to most it is a huge sacrifice, knowing the situation of the current public schools and the country. So just as how this school and parents were allowed to petition the removal of the VAT, it should be with the same deliberation that the school consider the parents, before making advance VAT payments to GRA after the removal of VAT was announced, during the budget reading period in the latter part of November 2017.
And I quote Finance Minister Jordan, “In view of the representations made, I propose to remove the VAT on the provision of all educational services, with effect from January 1, 2018.” The Kaieteur Newspaper dated November 28, 2017 also had this announcement, so that the general public could be fully aware.
Now, those parents who would like their refund of the VAT paid in advance now have to run back and forth to claim that fee deduction from the GRA, when the school (if keeping their parents at heart) would have withheld those fees until further notice. It is very unfair that parents who would have paid fees by their requested deadline are the ones not getting back a refund as compared to those who would have made payments after January 2, 2018. Would this now warrant the payment of school fees when the term commences and no longer in advance?
Finally, I am not a frequent church-goer but my child would quote songs and memory verses of the Bible that was learnt at the School. And by saying that it brings me to this, is the school being its brother’s keeper? Is it looking out for those parents who don’t have $7,000-plus to give up on because of the hassle of getting it back from GRA?
In this world, we already have enough problems to deal with, and it’s situations like these that make me wonder how many people actually save another person from unnecessary burdens/problems like this one. There is no way that I can begin to understand that the VAT removal announcement was made in November 2017 and the school is still taking my January to April 2018 fees and paying it over to GRA (when it is due February 21, 2018). That is the part I would not accept. So, maybe someone can clear this up for me as I stand corrected due to some ignorance on my part.
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