JIS News

The newly proposed amendments to the General Consumption Tax (GCT) Act and Regulations could see tax dodgers forking out thousands of dollars to the Government, or imprisoned for up to a year.
The anticipated changes were announced in the House of Representatives Thursday (April 8) by the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, during his contribution to the 2010/11 Budget Debate.
Mr. Shaw said the improvements in the GCT Act will allow for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the system of collection and a widening of the tax base. He also said the current provisions dealing with offences under the GCT Act will be changed, as they are inadequate and the fines and penalties inappropriate.
The changes, he said, are aimed at sending a strong signal to delinquents.
“I make an appeal to persons who are in arrears or who are underreporting their taxes to stop doing so and to pay their fair share – no more, no less,” he pleaded.
Some of the proposed fines and penalties under the GCT Act include: a penalty of $500,000 or imprisonment of up to 12 months for failure to return a tax certificate, supply records or issue tax invoices.
Additionally, the failure to display GCT Certificate of Registration will attract a fine of $50,000 or imprisonment for up to three months. The failure to apply for registration will also attract a penalty of $100,000 up from $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for corporate entities, while failure to file a GCT return will carry a fine of
$10,000, up from $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for corporate bodies.
The Minister further announced that in an effort to encourage persons who have outstanding amounts to come forward, voluntarily, the interest rate charged for late payment of GCT is to be reduced from 2.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent per month.
In addition, he said that Cabinet is also considering an amendment to the GCT Act, in order to strengthen the provisions as they relate to imported services, as well as to provide a standard method of calculating input tax credits, in situations where there is a combination of taxable and exempt supplies.
“These amendments will also clarify the definition of imported services and specify exemptions, as well as set a threshold for charging GCT on imported services,” he said.

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