Trust But Verify – GRA’s Reponse to the GGDMA

Georgetown, Friday, February 8, 2019: The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has taken note of two full page releases by the GGDMA in sections of the press, one on the subject on the new legislative measures, and the other on problems faced by the Mining Community.

The Revenue Authority lauds the GGDMA for its publication on the new legislative measures for the sector, and in particular, the final tax for gold mining. However, in the release on problems faced, the Association laid blame on the GRA for the decrease in mining by claiming that miners are “harassed in terms of taxes to the extent that they are no longer mining.”

The Revenue Authority wishes to assure the members of the GGDMA and the general public, that the Authority should in no way, shape, or form harass any taxpayer. Miners, like all taxpayers, are expected to pay their rightful tax, and no more. Further miners, like many investors, are in receipt of certain concessions and it is within the ambit of the Authority to ensure that such concessions are utilised for the purposes given, by reviewing their records. Since exemptions are granted upfront, the Authority operates under the “trust by verify” concept, so with due notice, (other than for Law Enforcement matters) officers sometimes turn up at the premises of taxpayers requesting to see certain documents and or assets.

That being said, the GRA is quick to admit that the attitude of some of its officers when dealing with taxpayers leaves much to be desired. The Authority demands that its officers treat the general public with mutual respect, and disciplines those who do not do so when such behavior is drawn to the attention of Management.

The other release from the GGDMA speaks for itself. It stated as follows:

1. The tax assessed on income derived from gold produced from dredges will be treated as final tax as of 2018 once declared and sold to the Guyana Gold Board.
2. The final tax relates to “individual gold miners”, and not persons who trade in gold or persons “who own and rent blocks and receive gold as payment for such rental”.
3. For individuals or persons who are engaged in all three of these activities, separate records must be kept for each such activity so as to enable the Commissioner General to determine the tax applicable on such activites not subject to the “final tax” regime.
4. The final Tax is not in lieu of keeping records.

If by its own admission, the above are requirements to be subjected to the final tax regime, the Revenue Authority would appreciate being advised by the GGDMA on what basis is the statement being made that miners are “harassed in terms of taxes to the extent that they are no longer mining.”

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