Tag Archives: 上海夜网论坛FZ

12Jan/20

GRA’s release of tax info unethical – Ram

first_img… as Education Minister given preview of recordsChartered accountant and prominent lawyer, Christopher Ram has noted with concern the announcement by Government that its Finance Ministry has records of private schools’ tax information and has since called for clarity.Ram raised the issue when he made a contribution to the consultation between Government and stakeholders on the removal of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on private education.The accountant highlighted that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is the only body in Guyana that should have tax records of taxpayers and that any such information must be confidential.Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, in defending the need to charge an education tax on private schools, said records in the Finance Ministry show that many of the institutions have been slipping on their tax requirements.“The records from the Ministry of Finance demonstrate that the schools are able to absorb the VAT. Of the private schools that are operating in Guyana, 57 per cent of them are currently registered with the GRA,” the Minister said as he began disclosing some statistics regarding the status private institutions in the country with respects to paying taxes.But, Ram challenged the Minister’s presentation and contended that neither he nor any Government official should be privy to tax records of taxpayers.“I’m not aware that the Ministry of Finance is in anyway a regulator of schools in Guyana and the situation was compounded when he said the Government has information on the schools that are not paying taxes. That’s a very serious statement to make, only the GRA has that information and the GRA and its officers are under a statutory duty of secrecy and confidentiality when it comes to information on any taxpayer,” he stated.Ram further told <<>> on Saturday during a telephone interview that he finds the statement “disturbing” and that it would be best for the Minister to clarify what he meant.“I think it’s in the interest of the integrity of the GRA that that statement be clarified because the GRA has a rule that it ought not to be giving out information on taxpayers,” he posited.The Education Minister had also disclosed that 10 per cent of private institutions are registered at non-profit organisations, and 14 per cent as profit-making entities.He also revealed that most private schools make approximately over $300,000 in tuition fees per year per person, depending on the level of studies.Dr Roopnaraine said the revenues generated by the top private schools exceed $2 billion annually.He noted that the estimate does not include extra charges by the institutions for additional services.He further announced that there is a high level of noncompliance of the timely submission of the required income, property and corporation returns and the payment of taxes.He said in some cases, teachers are treated as contract employees and employers are not deducting the appropriate NIS and PAYE from their salaries.The Minister also announced that there are incidents of under declaration and inflated expenditure so as to avoid paying taxes. “Payments are made to individuals other than institutions to facilitate these under declarations,” he noted.In this regard, the Minister had argued that “it is clear” that private institutions can absorb VAT without passing it on to the students.Finance Minister Winston Jordan had previously disclosed to the media some information regarding the tax status of private schools in the country.last_img read more