GRA has $500M in uncollected tax refunds

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has over $500 million in uncollected refunds from since 2012.

According to GRA’s Commissioner-General Khurshid Sattaur, the situation is due to the fact that taxpayers are not checking with the GRA to see if they qualified for a tax refund.

Sattaur also told a press briefing at the GRA’s head offices on Camp Street on Tuesday that when taxpayers don’t update their TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) information, the GRA has a hard time notifying persons of their current tax situation.

He said that the GRA would like to have people use their TINs as identification but noted that people did not regard the TIN with respect and couldn’t even be bothered to update addresses to ensure the GRA could properly contact them.

It was also noted that in the past when persons received a refund letter from GRA, many of them were often trashed because persons assumed the letters were requests for more taxes.

Sattaur also stated that since the GRA’s main offices moved to Camp Street, there is one office for payment of taxes and collection of refunds, which was somewhat of an inconvenience. However, he said he had hoped this would have forced persons to utilise the recent online tax payment service offered.

He noted that the GRA does advertise refunds on its website. The GRA head said that employers and employees had to take a more proactive approach to how their taxes are being paid and how much taxes are being paid. He said that employees who have a firm grasp of how taxes are calculated would have a general idea if they are paying too much tax and if they would qualify for a refund.

He said that in some instances employers have been delinquent and as a result employees do not have an understanding of their tax situation. Sattaur noted that the GRA would need to be more publicly savvy in 2014 to ensure that the public was more educated.

The GRA is responsible for collecting over $135.5 billion in taxes this year.

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