End of a 10-year-old racket … GRA begins registration of all heavy duty vehicles, equipment

End of a 10-year-old racket … GRA begins registration of all heavy duty vehicles, equipment

Commissioner General, GRA Godfrey Statia

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has commenced an exercise this week which is geared towards ensuring the registration of all heavy duty vehicles and equipment that were imported and are in use.

The revenue-collecting body made this statement yesterday in an advertisement that was published in the Kaieteur News.
The Authority outlined in the ad that these heavy duty equipment and vehicles include backhoes, bulldozers, combines, compactors and cranes.  

GRA stressed that owners of these heavy duty vehicles and equipment are required to present a motor vehicle registration form and the relevant import documents and Bill of Sale to the Licence Revenue Office, on Camp Street, Georgetown, to facilitate the registration process and thereafter have the vehicles/equipment examined.

The Authority said that it will have strategic points to facilitate examination of vehicles/equipment in the interior as well as in regional locations.

The exercise is one which comes in wake of the GRA uncovering a racket worth billions of dollars regarding heavy duty machinery.
Kaieteur News understands that for years, there were excavators and other heavy duty machinery and equipment which were not being registered. This has led authorities to form the conclusion that the nation has been losing billions of dollars in taxes every year.

Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Godfrey Statia, confirmed last week with this newspaper that the entity has found this loophole and is already making moves to clampdown on the scheme.
Statia explained, “Registration means you have title, and if you have title it means you can then transfer the title. What happened is that these guys were doing the transfers by way of Bill of Sale or by way of what you would say Power of Attorney, and that is one of the ways in which they have been beating it.

“It is not only with the heavy duty, but even with many other vehicles. Heavy duty has just been on the forefront for us…so when these excavators go into the interior, if they are not registered then they cannot be traced.”

The GRA Commissioner stated, “Additionally, some of the equipment that were free of duty based on these tax exemptions should not really have been granted, simply because they were not registered and they could move from one industry to the next…That is a billion-dollar scam that we have come upon.”

Statia said that he has spoken with his staff to make efforts to ensure that there is the registration of all excavators and heavy duty machinery, regardless of the industry it is part of, so as to bring an end to “the present lawlessness.”

“We are investigating this matter and we will be calling out the players to discuss this and put measures in place to deal with it going forward. We will also be working towards clearing up the backlog and collecting past taxes and transfer fees,” the GRA Commissioner had asserted.

Kaieteur News understands that heavy duty equipment and machinery are utilized by most sectors in Guyana. The National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) is one of the biggest utilizers of these equipment and machinery along with the mining sector.

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