The Finance Ministry has come out in defense of the government’s tax reform record which it believes to be unrivaled by any previous government at a similar stage. Its comment in this regard comes in wake of recent statements by former President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Deodat Indar, at a roadside meeting. Indar had said, among other things, that the government has increased taxes.
In response, the Ministry said, “Indar has fallen into the mantra peddled by his political party that the government instituted 200 taxes since coming to office. However, neither he nor his fellow peddlers have been able to list these taxes simply because it is a lie. The truth is, this government has implemented tax reform that is unrivaled by any previous government at a similar stage.”
The Finance Ministry said that among the progressive measures instituted by the government were substantial movement in the income tax threshold, from $600,000 to $780,000 or 1/3 of gross income, whichever is higher; lowering of personal income tax to 28% on the first $180,000 of chargeable income per month; removal of income tax on employees’ NIS contributions; lowering of company income tax to 25%; lowering of VAT to 14%; increase in VAT threshold to $15 million; and increase in the number of zero-rated and VAT exempt items.
The Ministry said too that more than 100 reform measures were instituted that benefitted businesses and individuals. In addition, it noted that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), which now enjoys real autonomy, has strengthened its monitoring and enforcement. This it said has resulted in substantial expansion of the revenue base and facilitated the massive increase in workers’ wages and development across the country. The Ministry also noted that more persons and businesses are now paying their true and correct taxes as a result.