Taxes increased by G$89B in 2019

Dear Editor,
Taxes increased by G$ 89B in 2019, with Tax Exemptions at G$134.2B in 2018 and non-Compliance trending up.
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) have increased all taxes collected by G$89B or 65% higher, from G$226B in 2019 to G$137B collected in 2014, as shown in the bar chart below. But, on the other hand , the net tax exemptions via remission of duties and taxes granted by the incumbent APNU/AFC Government showed an increase by G$71.5B, or 111% higher, from G$134.2B in 2018 to G$62.8B in 2014, based on publicly available data from the Auditor General’s Report for 2016 and 2017. Further the 2017 unconditional tax exemptions reflected an increase by G$6.5B since 2014.
At the same time, the non-compliance of self-employed registrants who did not file their taxes has jumped from 73,989 persons in 2016 to 87,171 persons in 2017, representing an increase from 80% to 83% over the period. Similarly, the total number of companies not filing their returns have increased from 2,169 in 2015 to 2,677 in 2017, representing an increase by 26 % of corporate non tax compliance. Yet, the legal actions taken by the administration for failure to submit tax returns have only jumped by 2 cases, from 7 cases in 2016 to 9 cases in 2017. This trend is clearly pointing to poor performances.
Another trend pointing to failure by this Administration is linked to the increases in tax revenues collected, when measured relative to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in terms of heavy tax burden and curtailment of net disposable income to households in the economy. In this regard, according the International Monetary Fund (IMF) organization, a typical developing country like Guyana should be collecting 15 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in taxes. However, we have clearly seen progressive increases from 16.1% of GDP in taxes in 2014 to 20.9% in 2019 based on the preliminary 2019 GDP figures as shown in the line chart below. Thus indicating a heavier tax burden overall being placed on the relatively low numbers of legitimate taxpayers,

Samaroo Ramtahal