International tax, audit company eyes Guyana

…major development being explored

An international tax, audit, and advisory company has set its eyes on Guyana to make its services available for what could soon be an influx of investors, owing to Guyana’s promising oil and gas
KPMG, a global network of professional services firms, operates in 155 countries and has an employment count of some 174,000 persons worldwide.
A two-member team visited Guyana recently and spoke with Guyana Times about the company’s objectives.
KPMG Trinidad and Tobago Director of Tax, Gillian Wolffe O’Neil, along with Tax Assistant Manager Saskeia Carmichael, in an interview last Friday, said the company, which operated in Guyana years ago, was back owing to the recent oil find.
“It is well known that due to the recent oil find, many investors will be coming to Guyana. We thought that we should do our best to help those investors coming here. The company offers both tax and audit and advisory services and they need to know, which is the most efficient way to set up a business. That is one of the reasons,” Wolffe O’Neil said.
She said after the setting-up of a business and with the tax impact of the company carrying out business in Guyana, it may need advice on the most efficient way of carrying out their business.
Assistant Tax Manager Carmichael said a lot of persons have tax related misunderstandings and fears. She said the aim of KPMG was to simplify the process, to bring issues to the fore and “hold their hands and show that if they are compliant, they tend to sidetrack the normal route of compliance”. She said there was no fear or backlash in being compliant, noting that it was something that they were hoping to push.
“In my experience, people think that tax is so complex, they are intimidated by it. We are here to make it simple as possible; it is nothing to be afraid of. What we know is once you are compliant, you will have the peace of mind to know that your financial affairs are being adequate addressed.”
Carmichael added that there were many benefits in being compliant. She said from the perspective of foreign investors coming into Guyana, some of whom would want to do business with local companies, the investors more than likely would have high standards and would want the local companies to be above board and compliant with their tax and corporate obligations. This makes it quite easy for them to partner with local companies, she added.
Alluding to what makes KPMG stand out from other companies, Wolffe O’Neil said, “We don’t just offer a service, what we pride ourselves is that we always understand our clients. We believe that we need to understand your specific issues, your concerns, your facts and then we will devise on a solution to your concerns.” Carmichael added that there were many other aspects of taxation that the company focused on. Among its main objectives, however, is to seek to ascertain how it can help the business to become more tax efficient and bring the business up to an optimum level of taxation. She said it may be a situation where the company is not accessing the reductions and incentives that are available.
“It is really about having that one-on-one with the client and deciding on your operations, transactions and interaction with other companies, how best you can tailor resolution to suit a particular situation.”
According to Wolffe O’Neil, Guyana is one of the favoured jurisdictions, and the company has always provided consultancy service here (after closing operations here). She said while they have clients and conduct audits in Guyana, they are seeking to expand the services.
KPMG responds to clients’ complex business challenges with consistent methodologies and common tools across industry sectors and national boundaries.
The company’s history spans some three centuries. KPMG (Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler) itself was formed in 1987 with the merger of Peat Marwick International and Klynveld Main Goerdeler.