Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Khurshid Sattaur in a recent interview with GINA said that the authority will be increasing its efforts to bring to justice tax evaders, specifically those who are professionals.
“On an annual basis there are categories of professionals-among them are accountants, lawyers, doctors, architects, civil engineers, dentists, land surveyors, pharmacists…in excess of 530, who are required to take up practising and serving fees which are due at the end of February every year…the condition which they are required to take a fee is laid out in the Tax Act…one of those conditions is that they must have complied with the statutory organisation under the Tax Act, of filing their returns and making payments on their taxes which are due on February 28 every year…this is not done,” Sattaur said.
“This year we will take a more serious approach to evaders…among the category of medical practitioners there are in excess of 300 – less than 35 of them comply…there are in excess of 105 attorneys-at-law – less than 20 of them comply in taking out their practitioner’s certificate…it seems to me that the GRA would have to spare no effort in using its enforcement machinery to go after these very stubborn individuals,” Sattaur said.
He explained, GINA said that this obligation is not a voluntary but rather a legal one.
“ Less than 15 percent of all categories of professionals have not complied with this requirement…what we have found among the delinquent ones are-there are very prominent doctors and lawyers…very soon we will be publicising those who are not honouring their obligations…Whilst we are publicising those that took out their practising certificate, we need to reverse the system to give publicity to those who do not take out their certificates, as it is an indication that they did not file their income tax returns, thereby they cannot obtain a legitimate tax compliance certificate,” Sattaur said.
“One of the measures that GRA has been using to ensure that they comply with the law is the implementation of the practising certificate…we are also engaged in other measures to pursue them for not filing their returns…we will be pursuing more vigorously, the compliance of this category of tax payers because they are the ones who are evading the revenues without much redress being taken against them…it seems as if they operate with impunity…we are improving our systems and capability along with our capacity to address this major scourge…millions of dollars are evaded in taxes because of the non-compliance of these categories of tax payers,” Sattaur added, according to GINA.