Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Godfrey Statia will be working assiduously towards reducing the award of exemptions for 2019 by more than 40 percent.
He made this known during an interview with the Guyana Standard yesterday.
According to the tax chief, over $40B in tax exemptions have been granted for 2018 and it is expected to increase significantly by December 31, 2018. The tax chief noted that several assessments were done on tax exemptions granted by the agency and “the findings indicate that we have to make some drastic changes.”
Statia said, “As has been reported many times in the media, the system governing tax exemptions at the Guyana Revenue Authority was not only compromised but it was not being strictly monitored. There is so much that is wrong, that is broken with this agency and you can’t expect us to get everything right at once. About three months ago, I asked my team to do some assessments on the exemptions and we have found some areas that we have to tighten up on.”
The Commissioner General added, “I am not at liberty to disclose those now. They have to be discussed with my Minister (of Finance, Winston Jordan) and we will take it from there. But this much I can say, we can save up to $20B in exemptions if we tighten all the screws. So, from 2019, there will be some serious changes.”
The Tax Chief said that a special team has been organized to ensure that measures discussed are implemented.
The issue of the nation losing billions of dollars through the mismanagement of tax exemptions was extensively documented in the report of the Tax Reform Commission. Statia was also part of the five-member team.
The Commission made it clear that the system for granting these exemptions needs to be revamped. This recommendation was made since 2016. It is now being undertaken by GRA’s tax chief.