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|Stop playing politics with GRA and pay your taxes – Sattaur tells Hughes|
|Friday, 03 August 2012 22:29|
COMMISSIONER General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Khurshid Sattaur, has rebuked Alliance for Change’s Executive Member and attorney- at- law Nigel Hughes, advising him to stop playing politics with the agency.
“They must pay their taxes, and let the GRA get on with their business, and they get on with their politics,” Sattaur said.
He was responding to Hughes’ statement published in the Friday, August 3, 2012 edition of the Stabroek News, in which Hughes claimed that Sattaur had “made a decision to waive taxes for one taxpayer for sums in excess of $70M when other taxpayers of a different hue must suffer a different fate for the same taxes.”
Sattaur accused Hughes of trying to mislead the public by indicating that the GRA was treating some taxpayers differently than others.
“I think that is a very lame argument; Mr. Hughes has put out there, and we want to refute it very strongly,” Sattaur stated.
“The DIDCO matter was before the court, and the court granted a waiver. The GRA has no authority to grant such a waiver in the law,” he said.
Sattaur posited that Hughes could be honest with the general public and inform them that he knows that “by way of an Amendment made in 2003, our powers to waive interest were removed. It is now vested with the Minister of Finance, and five conditions apply. These conditions have to apply as required in the law for such waivers to be granted.”
Sattaur further explained that three of the conditions are: the taxpayer has to have suffered from a natural disaster or from a fire, and or he/she would have become an imbecile.
The Commissioner General questioned whether Hughes was seeking a waiver on any of those conditions, “but if he has any of those conditions applying to him, he can approach the Minister or the Court and ask for a waiver; it is not in my authority to grant the waiver.”
Sattaur was at a loss to understand the misleading allegations of unfairness made against him by Hughes, adding that it was very disheartening.
“He is the one who caused the publicity by making certain statements in the press…alleging certain unfairness on our part…the statements that were initially made are that once someone opposes the government, then the GRA is sent after them. That is not the case,” Sattaur categorically denied.
“That might have been the case 25 years ago, we do not operate in that manner any longer…we are not a politicised organisation, we are not an organisation that favours any one because of any affiliation to race or politics. And I am proud of that,” Sattaur declared.
According to public records, the GRA obtained two court judgments against Harvest Company Ltd for failure to remit PAYE and one judgment under the Value Added Tax Act.
The verdict by the Court stated that in October 2011, judgment was granted for the sum of $621,967.00 for the periods January- August 2010. In June, 2009, judgment was granted for the sum of $7,236,032.00 for the periods August 2005- December 2005, July 2006 - December 2006, and January 2007- December 2007.
In January, 2010 Section 44 Certificate was filed for the sum of $1,439,644.00 for the periods April 2007- July 2007 and December 2007; January- June, September and November 2008; January 2009, February 2009 and April- July 2009.
In October, 2011 a Writ of Summons was filed in the High Court to recover $4,429,450 for the periods January to December 2008, and July to December 2009 for PAYE.
In January, 2012, an Unless Order was granted giving the Company five days to file an Affidavit in Defence. On the same day, the company filed the said Affidavit denying that the PAYE in the sum of $1,203,727 was deducted. The matter was called on July 24 for preemptory trial and has been adjourned to September 17, 2012.
In an effort to recover the state’s revenue, on May 22, 2012, a Writ of Execution, along with instructions to levy, was filed to recover the outstanding PAYE judgment sums.
In June, 2012, the officers of the GRA sought to institute levy proceedings against the Company. Officers of the GRA informed the High Court marshals that the business operates at 176 Middle Street, Georgetownm but the marshals insisted that they must visit the registered address stated on the writ of execution.
Sidewalk Café and Jazz Club is a registered business registered under the Business Registration Act and is solely owned by Harvest Company Ltd, a company incorporated under the Laws of Guyana with registered address at 62 Hadfield and Cross Streets, Georgetown.
When the officers of the Revenue Authority and the Marshals arrived at 62 Hadfield and Cross Streets, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown, they were informed that the business is not being conducted at the registered address and has not been in operation for some years now. Hughes was out of the jurisdiction at the time
Subsequent to an article published in the Guyana Chronicle on Friday August 3, 2012, Hughes paid monies over to the GRA on the same day and then issued his statement of allegations against the Commissioner General of Revenue.
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