Government should grant an amnesty for those late income tax filings currently in the system

Dear Editor,

The budget speech announcement that the government will be granting an amnesty for late filing of tax returns is very good news for thousands of people. However, my understanding is that this amnesty will be for tax returns filed after January 2018 and not for those currently in the system.

I would like to respectfully petition the government to adjust this amnesty to include individuals who filed returns late and received demand letters from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to pay astronomical amounts as a penalty for late filing.

My humble suggestion is that the government put a waiver on all outstanding late filing penalties  for individual taxpayers who are currently in GRA system, whether the returns were filed 2000 or 6000 days late.

I’m making this suggestion because I am aware of many struggling small business persons who over the last two years decided to put their house in order, and submit outstanding income tax returns (sometimes eight years in default), expecting that they will now be treated fairly and have a good chance of securing government tenders. There are cases where they borrow money to pay the outstanding taxes. Lo and behold months later GRA sent letters demanding very large amounts in late filing penalty and interest. Since it’s the same set of people from 25 years ago who continue to get the contracts, where are long-suffering, neglected people going to get the money from to pay these interest charges.

I beg this government to listen to the cries of ordinary Guyanese.

Yours faithfully,

Trevor Charles

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