Taxes Frequently Asked Questions

EXECUTIVE TAX

A. At a Glance - Maximum Rates

Income Tax Rate (%)  30
Capital Gains Tax Rate (%)  20
Net (Property) Tax Rate (%)  up to 0.75
Estate and Gift Tax Rate (%)  0

B. Income Tax - Employment

Who Is Liable: Any employment income accruing in or derived from Guyana is subject to income tax regardless of where the payment is received.

Individuals who are not ordinarily resident or not domi­ciled in Guyana and have earned income arising outside Guyana are subject to tax on that income only if it is received in Guyana.

For the purpose of these rules, the term “ordinarily resi­dent in Guyana" when applied to an individual means an if individual who is resident in Guyana in the course of his or her customary way of life.

An individual also may be deemed to be resident any one year In which he or she resides in Guyana for more than 183 days. Deemed residence must be distinguished from ordinary residence since it is unlikely that an individual who is deemed to be resident under the 183 day rule will t be considered ordinarily resident for the purpose of tax­ing of his overseas income.

Taxable Income: Taxable income, includes all salaries wages, overtime pay, leave pay, sick bonuses, stipends, commissions, or other payments of any kind for services, directors" fees retiring allowances, compensation for the termination of any contract of employment or service, and any allowances, including the annual value of any residence, quarters, board and lodging whether paid in money or otherwise, arising or occurring in or derived from or received in Guyana in respect of employment.

Income Tax Rates: Income above the personal allowance is taxed at a rate of 30%. 

Deductible Expenses: No expenses are deductible against employment income.

Personal Deductions and Allowances: All individual taxpayers are entitled to a flat allowance of $600,000 per year (effective January 1, 2012).

C. Income Tax-Self-Employment /Business Income

Who Is Liable: Every person or group of unincorporated persons carrying on any trade, business, profession or vocation is subject to income tax.

Taxable Income: Taxable income for income tax purposes consists of the aggregate amount of income from all sources after allowing the appropriate exemptions and deductions.

The following are included in taxable income:

  • Income from a trade, business, profession or vocation (regardless of the length of time of the activity);
  • Capital gains subject to tax under the Income Tax Act;
  • Discounts, annuities, premiums, commissions and fees, rentals and royalties, as well as any other annual profits not covered above; and
  • Gains or profits from the working, occupation or cultivation of land of every description.

Deductible Expenses: For the purpose of ascertaining taxable income, all expenses wholly and exclusively incurred for the production of income during the year immediately preceding the year of assessment may be deducted.

The Commissioner General may disallow expenses in excess of the amount he or she considers reasonable and necessary for the requirements of the trade and business. The Commissioner is likely to exercise this authority only if the payment is made in a relationship that is not entirely commercial or at arm's length.

D. Directors' Fees

Directors' fees are subject to tax as income from employment.

E. Investment Income

Interest from savings accounts and other accounts with banks and financial institutions is subject to a 20% final withholding tax. If a person's total income from all sources is less than G$600,000, he or she receives a refund of the tax withheld by the bank.

Dividends paid by resident companies to residents are exempt from tax, while a 20% withholding tax is charged on dividends paid by nonresident companies or to nonresidents. No dividends are included in taxable income for income tax purposes.

F. Relief for Losses

Losses incurred in one year from any trade, business, profession or vocation carried on by any person, either solely or in partner­ship, or from the letting of property by any person either solely or in partnership, may be carried forward indefinitely and offset against what would otherwise have been taxable income in the year or years following, until the losses have been completely recouped.

The loss to be offset may not exceed the amount of the gain or profit arising from the same source in the same tax year.

The loss that may be offset in any one year is limited to the amount that reduces the tax payable for that year to 50% of the tax that would otherwise be payable for the year.

No loss carry backs are allowed.

G. Capital Gains and Losses

Capital gains tax is payable at the rate of 20% on the net capital gain arising from a change of ownership. Capital gains arising from the disposal of shares in public companies are exempt.

The gain is calculated by deducting from the sales proceeds the cost of the asset. If the asset was acquired before January 1,1991, then the market value at January 1, 1991, is substituted cost.

Gains on assets disposed of within 12 months of acquisition normally are taxed as income. Gains on assets disposed of more than 25 years after acquisition are exempt from taxation.

H. Net Worth Tax

Property tax is payable by both individuals and companies on the net property held at December 31 of each year.

Property includes tangible as well as intangible property, cash, receivables, and other rights. Liabilities are deducted from the mount of the property, and property tax is payable at the following progressive rates.

Net Property

Exceeding   Not Exceeding  Rate
G$  G$  %
0 40,000,000 0.00
40,000,000 - 0.75

Property tax returns must be filed and tax paid by April 30.

I. Estate and Gift Taxes

Guyana does not impose estate, inheritance or gift taxes. Process fees are payable at ½% of the net value of the property of the deceased person where the gross value of property exceeds $100,000.

J. Social Security

The National Insurance and Social Security Act provides for the | compulsory participation of both employers and employees in the National Insurance Scheme with limited adjustments for persons below 18 years old and above 60 years old.

Contributions at the following rates are compulsory and must be remitted by the 15th of the following month. Employees must contribute 5.6% and employers 8.4% of insurable earnings of up to $36,498 weekly or $158,159 monthly. The insurable earnings limit combined with the compulsory contribution rates result in maximum contributions by employees of $2,044 weekly and $8,856 monthly.

Where earnings is below $50,000 per month, the contribution rates are 5.2% and 7.8% respectively.

The National Insurance Scheme provides payable benefits for sickness, maternity, medical care, disablement, death, injury, old age, survivors, invalidity and funerals.

Eligibility for these benefits requires qualifying contributions and meeting certain other conditions. The levels of benefits payable depend on the number and value of contributions made on behalf of an employee.

K. Filing and Payment Procedures

The Income Tax, Property Tax and Capital Gains Tax Acts are admin­istered by the Guyana Revenue Authority. The head of the depart­ment is the Commissioner General.

The tax year is the calendar year. Every person receiving income is required to file an income tax return on or before April 30 of the following year. Failure to do so by taxpayers results in a penalty of $15,000 and 2% of the tax assessed, or 5% of the tax assessed for taxpayers who fail to comply with a demand notice in addition to interest.

Employers must withhold tax from employees' compensation under the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) system.

Every person who receives income other than employment income must pay tax in four equal installments on or before April 1, July 1, October 1 and December 1 in each income year. Each installment should equal one-quarter of the tax on chargeable income for the preceding year The balance of tax due, if any, must be paid no later than April 30 of the following year.

L. Non-residents

Income from employment in Guyana is deemed to be income accruing in, or derived from Guyana and is taxable in Guyana whether or not received in Guyana.

Non-residents must file returns for any year for their Guyana-source earned income. To file returns, non-residents follow the same administrative rules as those for residents described in Section J.

M. Double Tax Relief/Double Tax Treaties

Unilateral Relief: The provisions relating to unilateral relief are available to persons resident in Guyana during the year.

A credit is available for foreign taxes paid on income from an office, employment or profits. The credit may not exceed the amount that would apply to the chargeable income of the taxpayer at a rate computed by dividing the income tax due (before allowance of credit) on the total income by the amount of the total income.

Also, the total credit granted may not exceed the total tax payable by a taxpayer in any year of assessment. For the purposes of computing the tax payable on total income, no deduction is allowed for foreign tax paid. Any foreign income chargeable to Guyana tax on a remittance basis is grossed up to include foreign tax paid.

The total credit allowed by way of unilateral relief may not exceed 50% for a British Commonwealth country and 25% for any other country of the limits mentioned above.

Relief under Double Tax Treaties: If a person derives income from a country with which Guyana has concluded a double tax treaty, relief is granted as specified in the treaty.

Guyana has concluded double tax treaties with Canada, the United Kingdom and CARICOM member states.

Updated to: June 30, 2014