Income Tax amendment gets greenlight

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 3, 2019

Said to be the largest bill of the day, the Income Tax Amendment Bill 2018 was given the green light in the National Assembly earlier today, as Finance Minister Winston Jordan presented the benefits to citizens, particularly those in the private sector.

The amendment proposes that allowance for vacation in the private sector be equalled to that of the public sector.

According to Minister Jordan, public sector employees enjoy a tax-free allowance, whether they spend their vacation in Guyana or abroad, while private sector employees have only been given the allowance to the extent of the cost of the passage for travels abroad.

The Tax Act is also being amended to raise the personal allowance from $720,000 to $780,000 annually. He said the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), through its enforcement activities, has enabled the broadening of the tax base over the last three years, which in effect, has allowed the government to increase the income tax threshold.

Meanwhile, the Tax Amendment Bill 2018 is set to upgrade the types of services available in the new towns. Minister Jordan said the bill is significant as it will now recognize services offered by the GRA in the municipalities of Lethem, Mabaruma, Mahdia and Bartica.

He said businesses located in these towns can now be registered using the criteria of townships.

The Corporation Tax Amendment Act was also given the green light in the National Assembly today. Minister Jordan said the Act coincides with the Income Tax Act and allows small businesses to benefit from the rate of tax for small businesses.

He explained that the amendment sees the insertion of the “definition of small businesses” which he said is necessary since it introduces and facilitates the reduction of income tax.

According to the minister, businesses will now be taxed at a non-commercial rate that is now being lowered from 27.5 per cent to 25 per cent. The non-commercial rate for companies will also be reduced from 27.5 per cent to 25 per cent.

The Value Added Tax Amendment Bill 2018 was also presented and passed in the National Assembly.

Alexis Rodney.

Image: Keno George.