Professionals have paid hundreds of millions in taxes

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) wishes to respond to the lead headline of the Sunday October 28, 2018 edition of the Kaieteur News titled `Lawyers, doctors and other professionals collectively pay less than $6m to GRA in 2017’, and the first paragraph of the said page 3 article which stated that “the hundreds of lawyers, doctors, and other professionals with private practices across Guyana have collectively contributed only $5.6M to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) in 2017.

Again, in its sensational manner, and without seeking any explanations from the Revenue Authority, Kaieteur News has attempted to mislead the general public and its readers, by implying that these professionals have only contributed $5.6M in taxes. The Guyana Revenue Authority would like it to be public record that these groups of professionals, despite the fact that many of them may not have complied with their tax obligations, have paid hundreds of millions in taxes, with a few of them making tax payments in excess of the $5.6M so stated. The $5.6M represents professional fees for Tax Practice certificates applicable under Section 39 of the Tax Act, Chapter 80:01, and does not in any way reflect the total revenue paid by the compliant professionals as taxes on their income.

There is no doubt that the amount of fees collected would have been higher had the conservatory order by the court on professional fees not been in place. However, it should be noted that there is a steady increase in the number of compliant professionals and collections from this sector have steadily increased.

Nonetheless, it is clear that the person tasked with covering the Auditor General’s report is either not familiar with taxation principles, may be too focused on sensationalising its content which have so far only resulted in erroneous publications, or may be deliberately dis-reputing the Auditor General’s report.

Yours faithfully,

Melissa Baird

For Public Relations Unit

Communication & Tax Advisory

Services Division

Guyana Revenue Authority

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