The Guyana Revenue Authority is launching a pilot to implement the Trusted Trader Programme, which is a variant of the World Customs Organization’s (WCO’s) Authorized Economic Operator (AEO). The programme in its initial stages will mainly target companies that have numerous transactions with the GRA for “Trusted Trader” status.
Once deemed as a “Trusted Trader” by the GRA, the company can benefit from one or more of the following:
a) Reduced processing, release, and clearance times for those eligible
b) Reduced frequency or level of physical inspections and examinations.
c) Appropriate documentary and data requirements.
d) Issuance of three-year compliance certificates
e) Yearly tax exemption letters can be issued for manufacturing purposes as opposed to the requirement for application on a shipment-by-shipment basis.
The criteria to determine eligibility include (but arenot limited to) the following:
a. Taxes - Total taxes paid on a yearly basis for the last 3 years should be:
• A minimum of$500M annually
• A minimum of $200M annually could be considered if all/most of the other criteria are satisfied.
b. Turnover –The turnover should bea minimum of one billion($1,000,000,000) annually.
c. Tax Exempt Companies - Those who benefit from large volumes of tax exemptions may be considered providing that they meet their compliance and IDE requirements.
d. Compliance - Historical data for compliance with the laws administered by the GRA in areas such as.
• Returns -The applicant must have filed his tax returns in a timely manner for the last seven (7) years. The applicant must also have satisfied his tax obligations under all Acts administered by the Revenue Authority for all years AND has satisfied the Commissioner-General that he has paid all taxes due and payable, or made satisfactory arrangements to do so, at the time of applying for Trusted Trader status.
• Audit history - Unqualified audit opinion (or free of any material audit issues) for the last (7) years.
• Breaches -The company must not have had significant or intentional cases of false declarations or breaches to the laws administered by the GRA for the last seven (7) years.
e. Well Established Companies – The company must be reputable and been in existence for a minimum of seven (7) years.
f. Registered - The company must be registered under the Companies Act of Guyana for a minimum of seven (7) years preceding the date of application.
g. Audited Financial Statements - The company must have submitted audited financial statements to the GRA for the last seven (7) years.
h. Assets – Immovable assets owned by the applicant not subject to floating charges.
i. Sector – Consideration may be given for critical sectors depending on the type and nature of the sector (e.g. medical).
j. Broker – The company must have on board a licensed Customs Broker who is on good standing with the GRA.
k. Accounting and Recordkeeping - The applicant must have acceptable accounting and reporting systems to reflect their asset positions and their operating activities. Electronic record keeping that are accessible and secure will be preferable.
It should be noted that the Commissioner-General reserves the right to determine who will be deemed as a “Trusted Trader” for GRA’s purposes based on the level of risk to the revenues and in keeping with the laws and mandate of the GRA.
Companies meeting these eligibility requirements who are desirous of being deemed as “Trusted Traders” for GRA purposes are encouraged to make a formal application to the Commissioner-General with justification for consideration.