Budget 2017

By Finance Minister Winston Jordan

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Source Stabroek News - November 29th. 2016

Value-Added Tax (VAT)

* Reduction in the rate of VAT from 16 per cent to 14 per cent

* Increase in the VAT threshold from $10 million to $15 million.

* VAT of 14% to be applied on electricity consumption in excess of $10,000 per month.

* VAT of 14% to be applied on water consumption in excess of $1,500 per month.

* Expansion of the list of exempt items and elimination of all zero-rated items, with the exception of those pertaining to exports and manufacturing inputs.

* Remove proviso for VAT refunds for non-residents.

* Budget agencies to pay VAT on all goods and services, except those financed from the proceeds of a donor agency.

Green Agenda and Protecting the Environment

* Tax exemptions on the importation of items for wind and solar energy investments and a one-off tax holiday of 2 years for corporation tax for companies involved exclusively in wind and solar energy importation.

* Tax exemptions for investment in, and construction of, water treatment and water recycling facilities and a one-off tax holiday of 2 years for corporation tax for companies involved exclusively in such importation

* Tax exemptions for investment in, and construction of waste disposal facilities with particular reference to recycling facilities for plastic items and a one-off tax holiday of 2 years for corporation tax for companies involved exclusively in such importation

* Exemptions of customs duties and taxes on machinery and equipment to setup charging stations for electric vehicles

* Exemptions of customs duties and taxes on greenhouses and component parts for use in the agricultural sector

* Lowering of excise tax on hybrid and electrical vehicles

* Zero-Rate of Excise tax on:

1.Specially-designed Refuse (Garbage) Trucks

2.Bio-fuel (bio-gas or bio-diesel)

* The importation of used tyres for motor cars, vans, pickups, SUVs and minibuses will be restricted with effect from April 1, 2017. Vehicles described above, which are imported into Guyana after April 1, 2017, will be required to be fitted with new tyres (including the spare). A “phase out” period for existing stocks of used tyres will be allowed. Used tyres that have been ordered and shipped will be allowed a period of three months to have these orders completed

* Reduction of duty on new tyres – The Customs duty on new tyres will be reduced from 30 per cent to 15 per cent

* Imposition of an environmental levy of $10 per unit on the importers and local manufacturers of products using non-returnable metal, plastic or glass container of any alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage.

Reducing inequality and increase disposable income

* An increase in the income tax threshold of $660,000 per annum to the greater of $720,000 per annum or one-third of the employee’s salary.

* The reduction in the Personal Income Tax rate from 30 per cent to 28 per cent for individuals earning less than $2,160,000 per annum or $180,000 per month and a new rate of 40 per cent applied to the incomes of individuals earning in excess of $2,160,000 per annum.

* Repeal of Section 33E (4) of the Income Tax Act as it relates to the sale of gold or diamond not being taken into account in ascertaining the chargeable income of the persons who owned gold or diamonds. * Increase in the Tributors Tax from 10 per cent to 20 per cent

* Restriction of Mortgage Interest Relief to loans up to $15 million. This measure will ensure that only low to middle income earners benefit, as was intended.

Economic Growth

* A reduction in the Corporation Tax rate, from 30 per cent to 27.5 per cent, for manufacturing and non-commercial companies

* The introduction of a dual tax-rate for companies carrying out both commercial and non-commercial activities. This means that the non-commercial part of the business will benefit from the lower corporate tax rate of 27.5 per cent but will pay the commercial tax rate of 40 per cent for their commercial operations.

* Automatic Issuance of Temporary Income Tax and NIS Compliance Certificates for persons bidding for contracts.

Tax Administration

*The Guyana Revenue Authority will implement an Excise Stamp Programme, which will see the stamping of alcohol and tobacco products with “high-security” stamps, which can be read by barcode scanners.

* Increase in the three years’ statute of limitations on the examination of taxpayers’ records to five years.

* Increased late filing penalties to 10 per cent (similar to VAT). A flat fee of $50,000 will be applied to each loss/deficit return submitted after the prescribed time

* The penalty for late payment of tax will be repealed and a simplified interest regime enacted.

* The penalty for failure to keep proper books and records will be increased to $200,000 or five per cent of the tax assessed, whichever is greater

* The penalty for failure to present books and records when requested will be increased to $200,000 and/or six months imprisonment.

* Authorise the GRA to garnish funds from bank accounts held by taxpayers who have outstanding tax arrears.

* Non-resident companies failing to keep accounting records in Guyana will be subject to a fine of $1,000,000

* Impose a fee of $1,000 for the first TIN certificate and $5,000 for reprinting of TIN certificates.

Enhance Revenue

* Increase departure tax payable by persons leaving Guyana from $2,500 to $3,500 and allow airlines to collect and remit the tax to the GRA.

* Waive premium taxes charged on insurance premiums payable by aircraft owners and accumulated for the past eight years. The tax will be now payable from January 1, 2017

* Bring Capital Gains Tax in line with Property Tax valuations

* Increase the fee for a passport from $4,000 to $6,000. However, persons 65 years and above will be exempt.

* Abolish the Certificate of Compliance to process Transfer of Motor Vehicle Registration and increase fees for transfer of motor vehicle registration for motor cycles and other vehicles, ranging from $5,000 for motor cycles to $25,000 or 2% of sale price, whichever is higher

* Impose a fee of $2,000 for a Driving Permit issued to drivers residing abroad but visiting the country temporarily, and $2,000 for persons requiring a Letter of Authenticity for verification of drivers’ licences; * Increase fees for Application and Renewal of Intoxicating Liquor Licences.

In Support of the Elderly

* Increase in Old Age Pension to $19,000.

* Increase Public Assistance to $7,500.