Tax chief distances self from mining concessions stories in KN

-GRA warns of breach of confidentiality

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) today said in a release it  has taken note of two articles which appeared in a daily newspaper referencing statistics on tax concessions granted to foreign mining companies.

The GRA did not name the newspaper. The articles in question were carried by the Kaieteur News.

The GRA release further said:

“Both articles which appeared on consecutive days’ disclosed that the said data was sourced from information that was “released by the Guyana Revenue Authority,” showing that AGM and Troy Resources “received generous concessions from 2016 to now.”

“Against this backdrop, the GRA wishes to reiterate that while the quantum of concessions given to persons so benefitting should be published by the Authority, the information concerning itemized concessions are confidential in nature and that any unauthorised release is in breach of the oath of Confidentiality and Secrecy.

“Section 4 (1) of the INCOME TAX ACT, Chapter 81:01, states, Every person who has any official duty or is employed in the secrecy administration of this Act shall regard and deal with documents, information, returns, assessment lists and copies of those lists relating to the income or items of income of any person, as secret and confidential, and shall make and subscribe a declaration in the form prescribed to that effect before a magistrate.

“In the past, offenses of this nature, including acts of collusion have tarnished the professionalism and reputation of the GRA which has a mandate to collect all revenue to the Government and ensure that Guyana’s best interests are adequately safeguarded.

“The Commissioner – General would also like to distance himself from the statement that he agrees that Guyana is not getting value for the concessions, and would like to reiterate that tax revenue is only one criteria of measurement. Other criteria include but are not limited to social benefits of increased employment and training, and foreign exchange contributions to the economy. Further, on the investor’s side of the equation, operating and development costs, uncertainty in exploration activities, volatility of commodity prices, the inability of government to fund its own exploration, and the political and economic climate, all allow for increased risk, and the demand for a higher rate of return by investors.

“The Authority will nevertheless exercise great diligence in accordance with the law to sanction anyone found guilty.”

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