GRA discusses tax compliance, refunds with teachers

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Manager in the GRA’s Tax Advisory Services Section Naresha Bobb-Semple making a presentation on taxation teachers

Officials from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) met a cluster of teachers at the New Campbellville Secondary School on Wednesday, June 22 to talk taxation and also clear the air on common perceptions about the tax agency.

The meeting was held at the request of the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU) East Georgetown Branch after its representatives made enquiries about the Tax Refunds that are due following the decision to allow National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions of employees’ as a deduction when ascertaining chargeable income.

The changes took effect in January 2015 when Section 16 of the Income Tax Act Ch 81:01 was amended and consequently required Employers to refund their employees with the total amount in NIS which should not have been taxed.

At the meeting Assistant Commissioner of the GRA’s Refunds Verification and Mortgage Interest Relief (MIR) Unit Mr. Eton London and Manager of the Tax Advisory Services Section Naresha Bobb-Semple illustrated the current method of computing income tax and pointed out that that there was a notable failure of many employers to fulfil this obligation, causing many not to be refunded.

A section of the gathering of teachers at the New Campbellville Secondary
A section of the gathering of teachers at the New Campbellville Secondary

The issuance of refunds has also been impeded over the years by the failure of Employers to submit accurate reconcilable Employers Returns (Form 2) and also by taxpayers failing to uplift their cheques long after being made aware. Nevertheless, Mr. London gave the assurance that the GRA has and will continue to play its part in issuing refunds once taxpayers are entitled.

With Section 106 of the Income Tax Act, Chapter 81:01 being amended, attention was drawn to the fact that despite a taxpayer may be entitled to a refund, the Commissioner-General is now empowered to deduct any unpaid amounts, tax, levy, interest, or penalty from any refund. It is one of several measures introduced to improve tax compliance and revenue collection.

Assistant Commissioner of GRA’s Mortgage Interest Relief and Refunds Verification Unit Eton London speaking to teachers at the New Campbellville Secondary School
Assistant Commissioner of GRA’s Mortgage Interest Relief and Refunds Verification Unit Eton London speaking to teachers at the New Campbellville Secondary School

The teachers were also reminded that the Income Tax Threshold has been increased to $660,000 yearly ($55,000 monthly) as of 2016, but most importantly, that the amount earned is dependent on the employee’s earning period. The obligation of every income earner to file Tax Returns on or before April 30 and the penalty that would accrue for missing the deadline were also highlighted.

“Filing your Income Tax Return is as important as paying any outstanding taxes that you may have… Please ensure that you honour your obligation to file your Tax Returns on or before April 30,” Bobb-Semple advised.

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