GRA tax amnestyAs the curtain comes down on the first amnesty period this weekend, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is urging defaulters to take advantage of this limited-time initiative to settle their tax liabilities without having to pay any interest or penalties.Back in January, the Authority had put in effect the amnesty, which was announced by Finance Minister Winston Jordan during his 2018 Budget presentation. This amnesty lasts from January 1 through September 30, 2018.However, taxpayers who file and pay all principal taxes on or before June 30, will benefit from a waiver of all interest and penalties, while those who settle their all principal taxes between July and the end of September, will have 50 per cent of interest and penalties waived. The tax amnesty relates to interest and penalties for income, corporate, property, capital gains and withholding taxes up to andGRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statiaincluding the Year of Assessment 2017 (Year of Income 2016).To this end, the GRA is encouraging delinquent taxpayers to take full advantage of the full wavier before the amnesty period ends this Saturday.The category of taxpayers who can benefit are those who are delinquent in the filing and payment, those who filed their tax returns but may have mistakenly underreported or understated their income or overstated deductions or credit and taxpayers who have deliberately not declared their true income and those who are already subjected to completed audits and a determination was made that the additional taxes owed to the GRA are still outstanding.Since its introduction, the GRA said it has been receiving and reviewing numerous applications for the amnesty. However, according to the Authority, some taxpayers are facing setbacks because of employers not providing them with emolument statements for the periods in which tax returns were due or outstanding. To this end, the GRA is urging employers to move with haste to assist taxpayers with such information.Moreover, the country’s premier tax collection body posited that it has also observed that some requests are being made for amnesty by taxpayers who have no records of tax returns submitted. Against this backdrop, the Authority reiterates that in order to have interest and penalties waived, taxpayers must file true and correct returns and pay all principal taxes.The GRA pointed out that the amnesty does not cover outstanding returns and taxes for the current year; that is, Year of Assessment 2018). Taxpayers who also file incorrect returns during the amnesty period will not benefit and will subsequently be subject to the attendant penalties.Meanwhile, Commissioner General of the revenue body, Godfrey Statia, in a public notice, is reminding taxpayers that the agency will not be accepting cash payments exceeding $2 million.“Taxpayers wishing to pay by cheque and part by cash will be allowed to as long as the cash does not exceed $2 million and is paid at the same time. Partial payments to avoid the $2 million maximum cash payment will not be accepted,” the GRA Boss said.According to the Authority, this decision has been taken both in context of the security risk such cash transactions pose on both the agency and the public, as well as Section 12 (3) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism regulations.“As such, any payments exceeding $2 million should be made via cheques or other electronic payment options,” Statia stated.At the Private Sector Commission’s (PSC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week, the Commissioner General underscored the importance of companies to be tax-compliant,l as he disclosed that less than 300 large taxpayers amount for 68 per cent of total revenues collected by the Authority.He recalled previously lamenting that many businesses do not consider tax implications, thus falling prey to needless penalties because of non-compliance and forego concessions that currently exist.“Tax is a key factor that could affect the profitability and efficiency of the new smart factories, supply chains, and product offerings being considered. Through careful, early tax planning, not evasion, and effective communication between all stakeholders, maximum use can be made of the opportunities that exist. The GRA need not and would not be a barrier to these opportunities,” Statia recently told stakeholders in the Private Sector.The GRA boss further noted that practices such as tax avoidance schemes that were previously carried out with impunity are now being scrutinised and with the implementation of initiatives, such as ASYCUDA along with a host of others, many loopholes will be minalised and eventually eliminated.
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Turkey is maintaining a hands-off policy during the current Cyprus negotiations, according to the Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Emine Colak.Ms Colak said that during the recent visit to the island’s north by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, her impression from private meetings with him was that Ankara was sincere in wanting a Cyprus settlement.Colak said that while Turkey “of course” had its own interests and the Cyprus issue was a major headache in terms of its EU path, “there are a lot of reasons why Turkey wants to see the problem resolved”.“Turkey is not intervening or trying to manipulate or be part of specific content that is being discussed between our leaders. There is no pressure, intervention or any paranoia about what is being agreed at the table,” Colak added.Commenting on Erdogan’s “harsh reaction” towards Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s statement earlier this year that relations should be on an equal basis, Colak said though relations with Turkey were important to the Turkish Cypriots, they had “strong feelings that we want to be masters of our own home”.Menwhile, the Cypriot leaders have turned their sights on the central issues of property and territorial adjustment that for decades have blocked agreement.Territorial adjustments and property compensation remain the most complex and divisive issues in the search for a compromise to end more than four decades of division.UN envoy Espen Barth Eide confirmed that during the latest round of talks between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, both leaders “agreed that the individual’s right to property is respected”.“Dispossessed owners and current users shall have various choices regarding their claims to affected properties. These different choices shall include compensation, exchange and reinstatement.”Mr Eide said an independent Property Commission would be established to resolve property claims based on mutually-agreed criteria.Source: Cyprus Mail/AFP