GSL co-owner declines further comment on $3.8b tax bill

Tony Yassin

Co-owner of Guyana Stores Limited (GSL), Tony Yassin has declined further comment on the $3.8b in taxes owed after a source from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) said payment will have to be made within 30 days of the recent decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Stabroek News visited GSL’s headquarters on Water Street on Monday morning for a comment from Yassin about the pronouncement by a source from the GRA that the authority is unlikely to accept anything but full payment.

“Nothing has happened. I have no comment to make on any matter until something happens. We will have to work that out ourselves,” Yassin said, while emphasizing that he did not want to comment on the situation.

When asked whether they have made any contact with the Authority to begin any conversation on how the sum would be paid back, Yassin stated again that he did not want to make any pronouncement until there has been progress with the matter.

“We will have to work that out ourselves and the matter has been waiting in court for a long time,” he added.

Last week, Yassin had told Stabroek News that after the ruling GSL would have talked with the GRA for a reasonable settlement.

He noted that GSL did not expect to lose the case and added that they would have to “evaluate what it is and hopefully make a proposal of settlement to the GRA to come up with something that might be acceptable.”

“We are a retail company and I can’t say we don’t have any problem repaying. This is a lot of money and we will work out whatever arrangement they come up with,” Yassin further said, while reiterating that the company would have no choice but to follow whatever agreement is arrived at with the GRA.

Subsequently, a well-placed source at the GRA told Stabroek News, “Taxation is based on laws and principles, not negotiations. Taxpayers need to be treated equally and the law dealt with consistently. These taxpayers have exhausted every measure to delay judgment and evade payment. The taxes will have to be paid now.” The source had explained that it is normal that payment would be effected within 30 days of decision, which gives the company less than a month to pay the sum of money.