Over the period 2015 to 2020, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) was able to obtain approximately 164 judgments by way of registration of certificates. Those judgments, according to the tax collection body, raked in $252.8M.

During the five year period, Guyana Standard understands that the authority’s Legal Services Department (LSD) instituted proceedings for outstanding taxes under the following sections: Sections 101 of the Income Tax Act, Chapter 81:01 for the remittance of PAYE, Corporation, Income and Property taxes; Section 44 for Value Added Tax Act; Section 253 for Customs Acts, Chapter 82:01; and Prosecutions for non-submission of returns in all relevant tax types instituted by summons in the Magistrates’ Court.

The LSD instituted legal proceedings based on recommendations from the respective departments within the GRA. Before proceeding to the Court, Guyana Standard understands that LSD engages the taxpayers to recover the outstanding taxes; hence in some instances, an agreement is arrived at and a payment plan is executed. The payment plan is monitored by the LSD but failure to comply results in legal proceedings being instituted.

In addition to revenue garnered from judgments obtained, the LSD also collected revenue from matters that were settled departmentally through the execution of payment plans. In this regard, the revenues garnered through the monitoring of non-judgment matters amounted to $275,424,062.

As regards major outstanding tax cases, the LSD is monitoring several defaulting taxpayers with significant amounts of taxes owed to GRA. The taxes outstanding amount to approximately $3.8B.

It was further noted that the major challenge the LSD encountered during 2015 to 2020 pertained to the enforcement of judgments. Regardless of the efforts made by the Enforcement Officers, the authority said that taxpayers continue to default in payments. In some instances, GRA said the business no longer existed while adding that it is oftentimes difficult to locate the owner, and even when the owner is found, and a commitment is made to pay, it is not complied with.
In other cases, the business and the owners are separate individuals, hence it is almost impossible to levy against any existing property since the property is registered in the name of the owner and not in the name of the business.

Another challenge that was noted was the unavailability of transport to execute the service of court documents and to follow up on other enforcement activities.


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