The Guyana Revenue Authority wishes to respond to a letter published in the letter column of the February 21, 2018 edition of Stabroek News captioned ‘Do pensioners have an entitlement or does the GRA have discretion?’ by Baliram Persaud.
The GRA appreciates Mr Persaud’s concern and is happy to facilitate the editor’s request for a response. In his letter Mr Persaud explained that his understanding of the Withholding Tax (WHT) exemptions was informed by a press statement issued by the Minister of Finance.
Section 8 Paragraph 1 of the Income Tax Act, Chapter 81:01 stipulates that “Not withstanding the provisions of section 39(1) (c), (d) and (e) any person referred to in subsection (3) whose income from all sources does not exceed seven hundred and twenty thousand dollars per annum shall be exempt from taxation on interest earned on savings accounts.”
Additionally, subsection (3) states that “Subsection (1) shall apply to a person who is a resident in Guyana and who is (i) sixty years or over at the commencement of the year preceding the year of assessment; or (ii) incapacitated by illness or infirmity.”
As you are aware, GRA is constrained by law from divulging specific information on taxpayers. Hence the Authority will not respond to Mr Persaud’s case in the public domain. However, it must be clearly understood that even though persons may have attained the stipulated age of sixty, all other stipulations outlined in the law must be met, and despite being senior citizens, the requirement of providing a true and correct return outlining all sources of income must be filed.
We hope this provides some clarity to Mr Persaud and all other relevant stakeholders who are desirous of understanding these changes. Those requiring additional information are encouraged to contact our Tax Advisory Services Section or visit our website www.gra.gov.gy.
Public Relations Unit
Guyana Revenue Authority