Nov 25, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – An October 2003 Conservatory Order continues to prevent the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) from assessing and collecting more taxes from Professionals, the 2021 Auditor General (AG) Report said. The Court matter is currently in mediation.
The first Schedule of the Income Tax Act, Chapter 81:01 identifies Professionals as Accountants, Auditors, Legal Practitioners, Medical Practitioners, Architects, Dentists, Optometrists, Engineers, Veterinary Surgeons, Physiotherapists, Pharmacists, and Surveyors.
The Schedule states that these Professionals are required to acquire a Tax Practice Certificate from GRA which is valid for one year commencing January 1 and ending on December 31.
Further, Tax Practice Fees are to be paid to the GRA by the end of February every year. However, the AG’s annual reports from 2017-2020 have recorded dwindling figures for Professionals filing for Tax Practice Certificates. According to the report, the GRA continues to experience difficulties in having practicing Professionals to comply with Section 37, Chapter 81:01 of the Income Tax Act.
The Revenue Authority’s inability to collect increased taxes from the practicing Professionals is due to a 19-year-old Court Order that bars the Authority.
Until the Conservatory Order is lifted by a competent Court, GRA is restricted from assessing and collecting any increase in taxes from the Professionals. Most Professionals pay $10,000 as the Professional fees per annum.
Notwithstanding this, the Revenue Authority uses information at its disposal to write Professionals who are engaged in private practice without a Tax Practice Certificate and those who have not yet renewed their certificates as a measure to ensure all are compliant with Section 37 of the Tax Act, Cap. 81:01.
This challenge has been highlighted for years by the Auditor General’s Office. The 2017 AG Report said that the total revenue collected from Professional fees for the period January to December amounted to $5.6M or 0.01% of the total revenue collected by Internal Revenue Department in 2016.
The Audit Report said that as at December 31, 2017, there were 605 active registered Professionals in the database of which only 260 Professionals or 43 percent purchased Professional Certificates.
“As a result, 345 or 57% of the active professionals had not purchased professional certificates,” the report added.
As for the period January to December 2018, professional fees amounted to $5.121M or 0.01 percent of the total revenue collected by the Internal Revenue Department when compared to 2017 collections.
In 2019, the total revenue collected from professional fees for the year amounted to $4.911M or 4.47 percent less of the total revenue collected by Internal Revenue Department for the previous year.
At the time of reporting in September 2019, the AG report noted that 170 professionals paid for certificates after the stipulated date.
Similarly, at December 31, 2019, there were 688 active registered Professionals in the database of which only 252 professionals or 37 percent purchased the professional certificates. As a result, 436 or 66 percent of the active professionals did not purchase professional certificates.
In 2020, the total revenue collected from professional fees for the year amounted to $3.930M, or less than 1 percent of the total revenue collected by Internal Revenue Department the previous year.
As at December 31, 2020, there were 731 active registered Professionals in the database, of which only 291 Professionals or 39.81 percent purchased the professional certificates.
Exxon has to put up a sign board across the Demerara Harbour Bridge to tell Guyanese what % of revenue we are getting from the Stabroek Block!
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