The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Thursday announced that it has instituted wind-up proceedings against the holding company for the local KFC and Pizza Hut operations and security company COPS (Guyana) over large outstanding taxes.
The GRA said it was forced to take the action to ensure compliance after winning judgments against “delinquent taxpayers” over the years for outstanding Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Value Added Tax (VAT) but finding “significant difficulty in enforcing the court orders.
In a press release in the name of Commissioner-General Khurshid Sattaur, the GRA noted that it had won judgment against debtors who owe combined taxes amounting to over $6B.
“Despite having obtained judgments against numerous taxpayers, the GRA has encountered significant difficulty in enforcing Court Orders. This hurdle has forced the GRA to take action to ensure delinquent taxpayers comply with the Judgment Orders,” it explained, while adding that it has also instituted levy proceedings against other delinquent taxpayers.
“The GRA wishes to advise that this non-compliance with Court Orders will not be tolerated and all outstanding judgments will be vigorously pursued by way of Levy, Garnishee and Distress Proceedings and other forms of execution,” it added.
Among those identified as judgment debtors are Friendship Hotel and Restaurant Holdings Inc., which owes $618,491,299 in VAT, according to the GRA. It said that the company, which was incorporated on January 18, 1994 and continued under the Companies Act, is mainly involved in the operation of fast food outlets under the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Pizza Hut franchises.
COPS (Guyana) Ltd, which the GRA said owes $433M (PAYE). It added that that another company, Sentinel Security Inc., now carries on a similar business at the same location as COPS previously did, and the new company continues the contracts previously held by COPS.
GRA also listed Guyana Stores Limited, which owes $354,184,590 in Corporate and other taxes); Didco Trading Co., $59,257,183 (PAYE); Ian Edwards trading as Universal Janitorial Services, $21,071,050 (PAYE); Interior Forest Industries Ltd, $20,504,044 (VAT); United Associates Security & Domestic Services, $14,584,694 (PAYE); Kayman Sankar Co. Ltd & Kayman Sankar Investment, $12,367,411 (PAYE); Mazaharally & Sons Ltd., $11,753,080 (VAT); Don Gomes, $3,763,514 (PAYE); and Liana Cane Interiors, $2,367,411 (PAYE) as “defaulting taxpayers” against which it has won judgments.
It also reported wining judgment in the Court of Appeal against the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) for Consumption of Tax in the amount of $5,292,000,000.
However, it noted that the company has since filed a separate and distinct application for Judicial Review/ Prerogative Writ in the High Court.
Meanwhile, GRA pointed out that Guyana Stores Ltd has failed to liquidate outstanding liabilities totalling $354,184,590 to the GRA. The GRA has since demanded outstanding taxes but noted that the company filed an Originating Notice of Motion for numerous Conservatory Orders to prevent the demand of the outstanding taxes.
It added that acting Chief Justice Ian Chang determined the matter in favour of the GRA on July 12, 2013, but the decision is currently being appealed by Guyana Stores Limited.