In accordance with section 31 of the Value Added Tax Act Chapter 81:05, a VAT registrant is required to submit a Tax Return for every tax period within fifteen official working days after the end of the period. For VAT purposes a tax period is one calendar month. Returns may be submitted to the Value-Added Tax Department or any Guyana Revenue Authority Branch Office.
Further, Section 31A (1) provides for lodging of a tax return and shall include electronic filing of tax returnsby the use of electronic media.
Moreover, Section 31A (2) indicates that a return of income filed electronically shall be deemed to be a return filed with the Commissioner-General acknowledging receipt of it. The VAT Return (form) is available on GRA’s website.
Pursuant to Sections 72 and 82 of the VAT Act taxpayers will be liable to criminal or civil penalties for the failure to file Returns. The penalties are as follows:
A person who fails to lodge a return commits a criminal offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand dollars. Further, where a convicted person fails to lodge a return within a further period specified by the Commissioner, that person commits an offence and is liable to a fine of two thousand dollars for each day during which the failure continues and to imprisonment for three months.
The civil penalty for failure to lodge a Return within the prescribed time is the greater of one thousand dollars per day for each day or part thereof that the return remains outstanding or ten percent of the tax payable for the period for each month or part thereof that the return remains outstanding. It should be noted that where circumstances permit the civil penalties should first be utilised before criminal proceedingsare initiated.
Where a person repeatedly violates section 72 by failing to file a taxreturn, the Commissioner may, after having obtained an order of the court in accordance with section 86, close the business premises of thatperson for a period of between three to thirty day
Challenging the decision on filing of VAT Returns
A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Commissioner under subsection (3) may challenge the decision only under Part X. However, upon application in writing by a person, the Commissioner may, where good cause is shown by the person, extend the period within which a return under Section 31 is to be lodged. The granting of an extension of time under subsection (1) does not alter the due date for payment of tax under Section 42.
Download the VAT Return Form HERE