For the 2018 period, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) made significant strides in its approach to tax administration. According to Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, the Authority’s initiative to establish a Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) turned out to be a remarkable move since it was able to net, in one year, some $4B in taxes.
During his 2019 budget speech, Jordan said that this was just one of the many initiatives undertaken by GRA in order to improve tax revenue performance and taxpayer relations. For next year, Jordan said that an Oil and Gas Unit will be established within the LTU, which will be dedicated to ensuring that the appropriate revenues are paid to the state by petroleum-producers, in keeping with their respective production sharing agreements.
In addition to this, Jordan noted that GRA also introduced e-services to taxpayers in 2018, thus allowing individuals to file their tax returns via the internet, eliminating the need to go physically into the nearest GRA branch or join a queue. In 2019, the economist said that the government intends to make e-filing mandatory for certain categories of taxpayers so as to improve the efficiency of collection.
While GRA continues to improve its internal systems, there has been special focus on expanding tax services across the Regions, with specific focus on the hinterland regions. In this regard, the Finance Minister said that the GRA office in Lethem was connected to the Head Office. The move which became a reality this year, allows for live and on-location processing of business-related licenses, among other services, thereby reducing cost and waiting time for taxpayers in Region Nine. In addition, Jordan said that the Government expects that the new tax office in Mabaruma will become operational at the beginning of 2019.
Overall, Jordan said that these efforts have resulted in an increase in the number of registered taxpayers from just over 79,000 at end-2017, to 83,000 to date.