For the year, 2019, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) continued to experience difficulties in getting practicing professionals such as lawyers, doctors, and Chartered Accountants, to comply with Section 37, Chapter 81:01 of the Income Tax Act which requires that they pay professional fees.

In fact, Auditor General, Deodat Sharma found that total revenue collected from Professional Fees for the said year amounted to a mere $4.911M or 4.47% of the total revenue collected by the Internal Revenue Department.

Sharma was also alarmed at the fact that collections continue to get smaller even though yearly estimates for collection are being reduced. Guyana Standard understands that in 2019, estimates were reduced by $1.295M or 21.52% and in 2018 by $640,000 or 9.7% when compared to prior years respectively.

In response to this state of affairs, Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia indicated that this is indeed a troublesome matter while adding that continuous efforts will be put in place to help curb this situation by addressing same with the responsible body of these professionals.

Statia said that this is, however, a work-in-progress since other alternative measure are being put in place in an effort to capture these professionals. He said that some of these measures include using the information obtained from responsible bodies, payment reports etc. in an effort to advise the professionals of their obligations. Further to this, the official said that new software that is being put in place will also assist in reducing these issues.

The tax chief was keen to note however that these measures require additional human resource which is not currently available. Be that as it may, Statia said that the consistent dip in collections over the years may be attributable to fewer persons taking out and or renewing their license and the contentious issue over the years engaging the attention of the court on the payment of practicing fees for the professionals, lawyers in particular.

Taking the foregoing into consideration, Sharma said that GRA should pursue all possible avenues to have professionals comply with the requirements of the Income Tax Act with a view of maximizing revenue collections.


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