Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) says a recent statement by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) constituted an attempt by the GRA to give the impression that the company owed $5.3b in consumption tax whereas the opposite was the truth.
On October 10, 2013, the GRA issued a press release which said in part: “A matter of paramount importance to the GRA is Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) which involves Consumption of Tax in the amount of $5,292,000,000, and was determined by the Court of Appeal in the GRA’s favour.
“The company has thereafter filed a separate and distinct application for Judicial Review/Prerogative Writ in the High Court.”
DDL in a release yesterday said that the GRA’s statement was an attempt to convey that DDL owed the GRA $5.29b “as determined by the Court of Appeal in GRA’s favour” when the company said that the opposite was the truth.
DDL said that an amount of $1,072,989,857 had been assessed by the GRA in respect of Consumption tax purported by the GRA to be owed by the company. DDL said that it filed an application for judicial review of that assessment in the High Court and the assessment was set aside on February 1st, 2005 by Justice Dawn Gregory-Barnes as not having complied with the provisions of the Consumption Tax Act.
DDL said that the GRA appealed to the Guyana Court of Appeal against that decision and the Court of Appeal on July 31st, 2008 unanimously upheld the decision of Justice Gregory-Barnes. The Court of Appeal panel comprised Justices of Appeal Carl Singh (acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Ian Chang (acting Chief Justice) and William Ramlal. DDL said that the Court of Appeal as did the High Court judge found that the assessment by the GRA did not comply with the Consumption Tax Act and was properly quashed by the Writ of Certiorari issued by Justice Gregory-Barnes.
DDL said that both courts found that the GRA was entitled to attempt again to assess DDL for Consumption Tax “on correct principles” under the Consumption Tax Act which had been repealed by the Value Added Tax Act as at January 1st, 2007. DDL said that on January 16th, 2009, the GRA again assessed DDL and demanded payment of $5.3b for the period 2001 to 2006.
The company said that acting on legal advice it filed a Prerogative Motion in the High Court seeking orders striking down that assessment and this motion is currently being heard in the High Court. DDL said that Interim Orders Nisi have been issued by the court in these proceedings which have the effect of staying the new assessment during the pendency of the motion.