According to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), its revenue projections for 2019 represent an overall increase of 23 percent or $ 42.2B.
GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia confirmed that there were notable increases being reflected from the 2018 approved budgeted collections with the largest absolute value being an $18.6 B increase in Internal Revenue and the smallest being a $ 5.54 B increase in Customs Taxes.
Kaieteur News understands that GRA’s strategic thrust and the associated strategies for the year 2019 are expected to continue the foregoing trend. Statia has been keen to note that increased projections are in part, attributed to the imminent improvements in the tax systems effectuated through reformatory measures.
During one of his visits to Linden, Finance Minister, Winston Jordon who has responsibility for the revenue authority, provided a comprehensive list of these “reformatory measures.”
The Minister reminded that there was a reduction in Company Tax for non-commercial companies from 30 percent to 25 percent; reduction in the Value Added Tax from 16 percent to 14 percent; increase in the VAT threshold from $10 million to $15 million; implementation of a special income tax rate of 25 percent for Small Businesses in addition to the numerous concessions available to such businesses under the various Tax Acts; increase in the threshold for filing a property tax return from $0.5 million to $40 million, and reduction in the property tax rate on chargeable property.
Jordan also said that there was an exemption from Customs Duty, Excise Tax and VAT on a range of capital equipment, intermediate and consumer goods; removal of the remaining restriction on accessing the Export Allowance to “soft currency” areas in Caricom; and the introduction of easier processes that allow individuals and companies to get refunds of taxes from the GRA.
At the individual level, the Finance Minister noted that the Government has reduced the personal income tax from 30 percent to 27.5 percent, increased the personal income tax allowance from $600,000 to $720,000 or 1/3 of gross income, whichever is higher; removed income tax from the employee’s contribution to NIS; and gave equal treatment to Vacation Allowance across the public and private sectors.
While these business-specific reforms have been direct, the economist said that the tremendous increase in Government’s expenditure on health and education, housing and water, and the physical and economic infrastructure, while maintaining low, single digit inflation and a relatively stable and free exchange rate; and rigorous measures to fight corruption have contributed immeasurably to the facilitative climate for investment in Guyana.
And weaving all these into a strong, durable fabric, he said, is the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) which, in turn, is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He said the Government aspires to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
The Finance Minister also noted that other reforms have extended to measures aimed at greening our economy, including the imposition of an environmental levy; the banning of styrofoam used in the packaging of beverage, food and food products; removal of taxes on bio-degradable containers; the waiver of all taxes on motor cars and motor cycles; the lowering of taxes on new vehicles and tyres; the restriction on the importation of re-conditioned vehicles; and the banning of the importation of used tyres.
Jordan proudly stated that the foregoing without a doubt, allows for a more welcoming economic environment for all, not a select few, as what took place in the past.
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