Tax amnesty taken with a pinch of salt
The proposed amnesty on tax returns announced by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, as part of next year’s budget initiative is being taken with a pinch of salt by the political opposition.
Jordan said that “amnesty will be granted to all delinquent tax payers- corporate and individual- who are outstanding in the filing of true and correct tax returns and payment of their true and correct taxes.”
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, feels there could be a hidden agenda. He asked at a press conference last week: “Why now? Why this year? Why not from the very beginning of their term?”
“Is it that there are a few companies that they know of who have large outstanding interest and penalties that would accrue to them and they are trying to help those companies by giving them a hundred percent write-off on all interest and penalties if they do it in the next few months and then 50 percent if they do it by September?” he asked. To support his doubtful expressions, Jagdeo inquired as to why the administration chose to implement this measure in Budget 2018 and not from the beginning of their term.
Jordan explained that taxpayers who file and pay all principal taxes on or before June 30, 2018 will have all interest and penalties waived, while those who file and pay all principal taxes between July 01, 2018 and September 30, 2018 will have 50 percent of interest and penalties waived.
Moreover, he said that taxpayers who expect to benefit from this amnesty must file true and correct returns and that those found to be in violation will be subjected to an audit and the attendant penalties and interest will be applied.
This, he says will take effect f r om January 1, 2018, through September 30, 2018.