Tuesday, March 10, 2009

GRA condemns publication of draft tax review report

GRA condemns publication of draft tax review report
Guyana Chronicle, 10 March 2009
The Guyana Revenue Authority has deemed as irresponsible the publishing of a draft report on the tax system review

Following is a GRA statement on the matter:
It was recently observed that a reputable newspaper, for the purpose of sensationalism, published the contents of a draft report on the review of the tax system prepared under the Guyana Threshold Country Plan Implementation Project (GTCP/IP).

The Guyana Revenue Authority views such an approach as irresponsible and completely inconsistent with the practice of responsible journalism by knowledgeable professionals.

Draft reports should not be taken and published wholesale; rather they should be analysed since there is the likelihood of errors, especially where figures may be amplified. Further, given the date of the report, it would be good to note what progress was made since it was penned.

Attempts should have been made to find out from the Guyana Revenue Authority if steps were taken to strengthen enforcement and improve compliance since the draft was submitted.

Further, since the writer was unclear of Government’s response to the draft report, much care should have been taken in publishing it. It would appear that the intention was to have a field day and embarrass the Government and the GRA, and undermine revenue collection.

It gives a false impression of the GRA which can affect the organisation as well as the morale of the staff.

In conjunction with the publication of various aspects of the draft of the “Review of the tax system”, it must be noted that since the commencement of the project in January 2008, the GRA has made significant progress in moving toward a functional organisation.

Under the two-year project, which commenced on January 14, 2008, the GRA’s governing board and the Commissioner-General have already taken steps to improve the organisation’s efficiency in administration and tax collections.

The reforms started several years ago and was funded by several donor agencies, the latest being the Millennium Challenge Corporation. The GRA is receiving technical assistance to implement several tax reform measures aimed at improving the organisation’s effectiveness in revenue generation.

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