Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Godfrey Statia recently announced that the entity has been able to recover millions of dollars in taxes since it initiated a clampdown on the heavy duty vehicle racket.
The tax chief made this known during a press conference that was held earlier this week.
There, Statia reminded that the tax authority went out of its way to make it known that it was prepared to visit the interior locations where persons were holding and using heavy duty vehicles which escaped the tax net.
The Commissioner General said, “We sent our officers out there so they would be able to take the necessary photographs and then proceed to register those vehicles. But there has not been a great response in this regard.”
Statia added, “What we have been doing now is that we have been going village to village, house to house, and actually levying fines. Once found, they have to pay $150,000 in addition to the taxes required on the vehicle. The $150,000 is a conveyance charge. But this is an ongoing exercise.”
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 Bill of Sale or by way of what you would say, Power of Attorney, and 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 has 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 utilized by most sectors in Guyana. The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority is one of the biggest importers 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 system, the Guyana Revenue Authority had 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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