In spite of some of its best efforts, Auditor General, Deodat Sharma has found that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) continues to experience difficulties in getting practicing professionals such as accountants, legal and medical practitioners, surveyors, and architects, to pay their taxes.
According to his assessment of Professional Fees collected for the period January to December 2018, GRA only received $5.121M. When compared to 2017 collections, Sharma noted in his 2018 report that this tax type is 7.9% below collections during the same period despite the Authority reducing its Approved Estimates by $649,000 or 9.7%.
In response to this state of affairs, Head of GRA, Godfrey Statia said that this is indeed an issue faced by the Authority. He told the Auditor General that continuous efforts will be put in place to help curb this situation by addressing same with the responsible body of these professionals.
With reference to GRA’s Work Programme prepared for the year 2018, Statia was keen to note that an amount was not budgeted for Professional Fees. However, an aggregate amount which includes Professional Fees and other Income Taxes was budgeted, hence, the amount for January to December 2018 was $10,000,000.
For the period under review, Statia said that the authority collected $9,028,628 which is equivalent to 90.3% of the approved estimates or 9.7% below such estimates. Additionally, when compared to 2017 collections, this is 18% above the collection during the same period despite the many constraints faced by the Authority.
He further advised that since last year, it was agreed that the budgeted amounts for Professional Fees and Income Taxes would be recorded separately.
In his brief recommendation, Sharma said that the Authority should pursue all possible avenues to have delinquent professionals comply with the requirements of the Income Tax Act with a view of maximising revenue collections.