Several hundred cases of Guzzler juices were seized this week from a city wharf after authorities got wind of a tax evasion scheme.
According to officials, the incident occurred on Wednesday at a Water Street wharf.
Kaieteur News was told that container of juices came in this week but instead of being classified as beverage, which attracts higher taxes and duties, it was cleared as packages of food.
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) would have lost out on almost $1M in taxes had the scheme gone through.
Kaieteur News was told that someone tipped off officials of the Law Enforcement and Investigation Department of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and a team headed down to the wharf.
A truck was already packed and about to leave the wharf.
It was reported that checks on the documents revealed the Guzzler juice were split into at least three different transactions, and just under $30,000 paid in duties and taxes.
Under normal circumstances, the juices should have attracted almost $1M in duties and taxes.
Under the laws, the punishment for offences of tax evasion like this, is a fine of up to three times the duty value plus two years jail.
There has been a number of similar cases in recent years.
In the case of Guzzler juices, there are authorised distributors who are made to pay the correct duties and taxes.
Had the juices slipped through, it would have hit the market, competing unfairly with the companies that are importing legitimately.
GRA has been waging a major battle against smuggling and tax evasion.
In many cases uncovered, GRA has found collusion with staffers.
Since mid 2015, under new management, more than 100 staffers were sent home for collusion and other wrongdoings.
Only recently, a truckload of chicken that had been seized was detained while heading to an importer. It was reportedly taken without authorisation.
In another case, a truckload of imported chicken from Suriname was seized after it passed the Customs port in Berbice.
From under-invoicing, to non-compliance, it is estimated that GRA is not collecting at least 40 percent of the taxes it should.
Legitimate businesses have been complaining bitterly of the impact of smuggling and under-invoicing to their operations…it is next to impossible to compete.
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