Amended VAT lists to take effect February 1, 2017

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) yesterday said that amended lists of items zero-rated and exempt for the Value-Added Tax (VAT) will take effect from February 1st  2017.          

The list of zero-rated items has been substantially reduced as a result of the 2017 budget. This has attracted criticism from consumers and the business community. Many previously zero-rated items are now classified as exempted items. Businesses will not be able to claim VAT refunds for any inputs to exempt goods and the general consensus is that this will lead to a passing on of costs for these items to consumers.

Zero-rated items are now mainly linked to exports. A range of medicines remain zero-rated.


Zero-rated items include:

  1. A supply of medicines and drugs of a kind only available by prescription.
  2. Analgesics, cough and cold preparations, antacids and anti-flatulants, laxatives, oral rehydration preparations.
  3. Glucometers, insulin syringes, spectacles prescribed by an optometrist, crutches.

Exempted items include:

  1. Bread made with wheat flour or whole wheat flour
  2. Raw brown rice, raw white rice and parboiled rice
  3. Raw brown sugar
  4. Cooking oil – vegetable, corn and coconut oil
  5. Cow’s milk and milk powder, evaporated milk, liquid cow’s milk
  6. Baby formula
  7. Baby cereal including Nestum, Gerber, Cerelac
  8. Unprocessed wheat
  9. Flour (all types)
  10. Diapers
  11. Sanitary napkins
  12. Bleach
  13. Soap powder
  14. Laundry soap


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