The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) continues to face a number of risks which affect its ability to conduct effective tax administration. In this regard, GRA noted that it lacks financial autonomy since it is a subvention agency that relies on the Ministry of Finance to represent its annual budget in Parliament and release sums monthly to fund the day- to- day operations of the agency.
The taxing entity said that every year it is forced to revise its planned programmes due to budget cuts imposed by the Ministry of Finance. With the implementation and execution of a well-defined strategic plan, the GRA noted that only then would it be able to prioritize its goals and needed resources to fulfill its mandate.
Further to this, GRA admitted that it operates without strategic and operational plans. This, GRA said, leads to the lack of a clearly communicated direction which results in inconsistencies in business procedures. GRA said, “This is usually manifested in the differences in the systems deployed at Head office and those at regional offices. Many Divisions within the Agency also operate in silos rendering efforts to consolidate and integrate operations futile.”
With respect to operational risks, the revenue collection body said that these are associated with weak IT systems, such as; insufficient national internet coverage and bandwidth to fully support the implementation of tax automated systems nationally; insufficient funding to upgrade systems and certifications; and lack of ownership to access keys for IT programs to effect changes to meet operational needs.
In addition to this, GRA said the absence of fully automated risk management systems for all tax types impedes risk-based compliance and productivity. The body said that this coupled with inefficient updating of Standard Operational Procedures hinders standardization and undermines professional output and responses to operational risk.