Through its “prudent management” of the oil sector, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been able to net over $11B in taxes in just the first eight months of this year. Guyana Standard was able to confirm this with GRA Commissioner-General (CG), Godfrey Statia.
During an exclusive interview, the Commissioner-General noted that the major tax types to benefit from this windfall were corporation tax, P.A.Y.E and withholding taxes.
The performance from January to August is indeed significant since it represents an increase over taxes that would have been collected for the same period of $3.1B for 2016, $$7.9 B for 2017 and $8.9B for 2018.
The CG, however, cautioned that much more taxes are to be collected from this sector since some unscrupulous external companies and contractors are intent upon utilizing certain tax loopholes to minimize payment. He further advised that many changes are recommended to be made to the Income and Corporation Tax Acts, to close these loopholes and consequently minimize tax avoidance.
When asked what may have held up the changes to the law, the CG said that he can only recommend changes to legislation, and since Parliament is not in session, he will have to wait until the 2020 budget deliberations
As the revenue authority continues to strengthen its tax collection systems, the CG advised Guyana Standard that moves are also apace for GRA’s expanded role in the oil sector. Not only will the authority be responsible for conducting cost audits but it will also be in charge of monitoring all the supplies that enter Guyana’s ports for the oil industry. This is considered a particularly crucial part of its work since according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), billions of dollars worth in industry materials have been pre-approved and would have to be properly classified and monitored by GRA’s systems.
Further to this, the Guyana Standard understands that the authority will have a role to play as it relates to the monitoring of Guyana’s oil. The revenue collection agency is preparing a team within the Customs Petroleum Unit (CPU) to support this area.