GTT still in talks with GRA over millions in owed taxes
— as 45% corporate tax cited as exorbitantThe Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) company is currently in talks with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) over millions of dollars in taxes its reportedly owes the Authority.GTT CEO Justin NeddWhen asked during a press conference on Tuesday, GTT Chief Executive Officer Justin Nedd noted that such matters are still under discussion. However, Nedd pointed to the company’s track record of paying taxes. In fact, Nedd described the company as one of Guyana’s largest tax payers.“GRA has a position, we also have a position. That’s something that we continue to discuss. What I can tell you is if you look at our remittances to the GRA, we’re one of the biggest taxpayers in the country”.“Publicly traded companies, things like fraud can have a very significant, damaging effect. We are a strong corporate citizen, we’re here for the long haul. We’ve been here for 30 years and we fully intend to continue (our presence)”.This is against the backdrop of a 45 per cent corporate tax rate, which Nedd complained about during the press conference. According to the CEO, GTT operates on a very uneven playing field that sees persons paying as little as 27 per cent corporate tax, thus, boosting their net profits.“There’s some challenges that we still face, 45 per cent corporate tax is still a tough one. But it’s been that way since 1991, when GTT started. And come liberalisation, it is my hope that (it reduces). Cause some of our competitors have declared that they’re paying 27 per cent tax”.It was reported last year that GTT and its parent company, Atlantic Tele-Network owed over US$44M in taxes to GRA. At the time, GRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statia had said that his agency would be adhering to taxation principles during negotiations.The liberalisation of the sector is said to be dependent on the settlement of the US$44 million tax claim against GTT. However, the company continues to enjoy the monopoly in international voice and data services until 2030.The company has said previously that should it be held liable for any of the disputed tax assessments totalling US$41.1 million; it is of the view that the Government would then be obligated to reimburse it for any amounts necessary to ensure a not-less-than 15 per cent return on investment.Earlier this year, the Government, through Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes and GTT had reached an agreement to fast track liberalisation.