There can be no refund of a tax payment when no tax is paid in the first place

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has made note of the letter in your September 28, 2017 edition (p 6) titled ‘Why does GRA no longer give mortgage interest relief to first-time home owners if they don’t have taxable income?’ by Jorge Bowen-Forbes in which the writer expresses concern about one of the criteria for acquiring Mortgage Interest Relief (MIR) from the GRA.

In response, the Agency hereby steers the writer to the Income Tax (Mortgage Interest Relief) Amendment Regulations 2015 Section 6 (1) which state: “In ascertaining the chargeable income of a person who is eligible for mortgage interest relief there shall be allowed a deduction against his chargeable income, the amount of the interest paid to the Financial Institution in the year preceding the year of assessment.”

Additionally, Section 6 (2) indicates that “In ascertaining the amount of the refund payable on the eligible relief under section 20 (A) of the Act, the Commissioner General shall first ascertain the chargeable income of the taxpayer and if it is determined that the chargeable income is not sufficient and will result in reducing the chargeable income below zero, then the refunds paid on the mortgage interest relief to the taxpayer will be reduced accordingly and he shall not be eligible for the full relief.”

The GRA does not make the law; it only administers it. The Authority wishes to advise the writer that at no time will age be a determining factor when dealing with taxpayers. MIR is a form of refund and as can be observed it is processed through GRA’s Refund section. Consequently, with a refund being that of a tax payment, there can be no refund when no tax is paid in the first place.

We trust that this adequately answers the writer’s question. However, should he have further queries, he is welcome to call the Agency on 227-6060 extensions 1201-1204.

Yours faithfully,

Melissa Baird


Public Relations Unit


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