|North West pupil wins COTA Essay Competition|
Sarah Fernandes a 14-year-old fourth form student of the North West Secondary School, Region One is the winner of the national level Caribbean Organisation for Tax Administrators (COTA) 5th Essay Competition 2017.
You can shop anywhere in Guyana, since in most parts of the country, especially the capital, Georgetown, the main streets are filled with small variety shops and shopping complexes.
Duty Free Shopping
Duty-free shopping is only available at Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) on departure. To purchase Duty Free Goods, you must have your passport and airline ticket with you. The store attendant will inform you of the procedure to be followed when and after purchasing the item(s). It must be noted that some items will be brought directly to you aboard the aircraft.
Most goods and services attract Value Added Tax (VAT) at the standard rate of sixteen percent (16%) except necessities and certain items that are zero rated or exempt (see list of zero rated items and list of exempt items). The tax is collected at the time of sale.
Merchandise is generally displayed showing either the VAT inclusive or VAT exclusive prices, depending on the stores' policy. As a consumer, you have the following obligations:
* Ensure that the person or business charging VAT is registered.
* Refuse to pay VAT, if no Certificate of VAT Registration is displayed in a prominent place.
* Ensure that VAT paid is indicated on your Sales/Tax Invoice.
* Ensure that you collect a Sales/Tax Invoice after every purchase.
* Report any instance of suspected wrongdoing, by CONTACTING THE GRA's Intelligence Hotline on Telephone No. 592-227-6060 extension 3405. All calls are treated with the strictest confidence.
Value Added Tax Refund to Non-Residents
Non-resident persons who visit Guyana are eligible for a refund of VAT paid on purchases, provided that the goods purchased will be taken out of Guyana. However, in order to qualify for the refund the non-resident person must purchase items totaling twenty-thousand Guyana dollars (G$20,000) or more from various establishments registered to charge VAT. In addition, the goods purchased in Guyana must be removed from Guyana as part of their personal accompanied baggage when leaving the country. It should be noted that, VAT paid on clothing bought and worn during the period that the non-resident stayed in Guyana will not be refunded since those items would be considered to have been consumed in Guyana. In order to ensure that you are eligible for a VAT refund you must do the following:
- Ask for a Sales/Tax Invoice. Shop where you see a Certificate of VAT Registration, issued by the Guyana Revenue Authority and ask the salesperson for an original receipt, sales invoice or tax invoice when you make a purchase.
- Remove the items from Guyana as part of your accompanied baggage when departing Guyana. A physical inspection of the goods to be exported will be conducted by the Customs officials at the airport or border.
- Complete a VAT31 Form in order to claim your refund. When departing Guyana, submit the completed application to Customs officials in the departure area. Application forms are available at the airports, other ports of entry and departure, any GRA Branch Office and the Tax Operations and Services Department which is located at 200-201 Camp Street, Georgetown.
- Attach documentary evidence to VAT31 Form to prove that VAT was paid on the goods which you are taking out of Guyana and that the goods were purchased by you. Documentary evidence may include your original tax or sales invoice indicating the amount of VAT paid, your overseas address, copies of the pages of your passport showing you bio-data and the date of entry into Guyana.
Once your claim has been processed, a cheque will be prepared and dispatched to you (the claimant) in the currency of the country in which you reside. In order to avoid unnecessary delay, kindly ensure that your overseas address is stated correctly when you complete the VAT 31 Form.
- Citizens or permanent residents of Guyana are not eligible for VAT refunds. Persons who reside in Guyana for more than one hundred and eighty-three (183) days are deemed to be permanently resident in Guyana.
- Persons who are residents of both Guyana and another country will be treated as a resident of the other country for the purpose of VAT refunds.
PROHIBITED AND RESTRICTED EXPORTS
The Customs Act, Chapter 81:01 prohibits and restricts the following items from being taken out of Guyana via aircraft or ship.
Goods, the importation of which is prohibited by any other law of Guyana.
Any article other than:
- a ring worn by a passenger and shown to the satisfaction of the Commissioner General to be significant of the marriage or engagement of that passenger; or
- one watch worn by a passenger, consisting wholly or partly of precious or semi-precious stone or of precious metal or of rolled precious metal of pearl and which-
- if, in the possession of a female passenger of or over twelve years (12 yrs) of age, exceeds twelve thousand dollars ($12000) in value either alone or in the aggregate with any other such articles;
- if, in possession of a male passenger of or 12 yrs of age, nine thousand dollars ($9000) in value either alone or in the aggregate with any other such articles;
- if, in the possession of a passenger under 12 yrs of age, exceeds three thousand dollars ($3000) in value either alone or in the aggregate with any other such articles; or
- in any cases not mentioned in sub-paragraphs (i), (ii) and (iii), is in excess of fifteen thousand dollars ($15000) in value either alone or in the aggregate with any other articles with which it is sought to be exported, and in respect of the exportation of which neither an export licence nor the written approval of the Minister has first been obtained.
Goods, the exportation of which is regulated by any other law of Guyana except in accordance with such law.