Even though the Coalition administration had said that several measures were taken since it assumed office to ensure the re-migrant scheme is no longer abused, it appears there are still some loopholes. In his most recent report on the financial misdeeds of the government, Auditor General, Deodat Sharma noted that two re-migrants who imported vehicles under this scheme did not own the vehicles for at least six months as required by the law. In another instance, Sharma found that one re-migrant applied for a vehicle to be imported but the documentation showed ownership by another person.
Further to this, Sharma said he found during his review that two persons were classified as re-migrants and received tax exemption totalling $25.829M. However, they were not Guyanese by birth. In addition, the husband of one of these individuals also gained re-migrant status and received tax exemption totalling $702,968.
Even though the re-migrant scheme is administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is done in conjunction with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), which administers the tax exemption. Upon noting the findings of the Auditor General, GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia made it pellucid that his team has information to show that one of the re-migrants who did not own a vehicle for more than six months, did meet the ownership requirement. In the case of the other, Statia said that the individual was granted administrative waiver based on his circumstances.
Contrary to his finding that a re-migrant was allowed to import a vehicle while the documentation showed ownership in the name of another, Statia explained that the management of GRA has evidence that the motor vehicle was in the name of the applicant at the time of obtaining re-migrant status/tax exemption.
As it relates to the case of the re-migrants who received tax exemption totalling $25.829M, it was explained that one of them is a Guyanese by descent and the other applicant was processed via recommendations submitted from the Ministry of Citizenship.
Be that as it may, Sharma still stressed the need for GRA to monitor and administer all concessions granted in compliance with the established laws and regulations governing the Re-Migrant Tax Exemption Scheme.