GRA roasts commercial banks over mortgage relief scheme

GRA roasts commercial banks over mortgage relief scheme

The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is dissatisfied by the level of cooperation shown by the various Banking institutions as it relates to processing information necessary for facilitating the Mortgage Interest Relief (MIR) scheme.

This scheme which was provided for in the 2013 National Budget is geared at providing a 30% relief on the gross interest paid on first time mortgages amounting to $30M or less and requires the assistance of the various lending institutions.

In October 2013, the GRA held workshops with representatives from the various lending institutions and began its public education campaign which has been very aggressive in providing the information necessary for mortgagers to qualify for this relief. To date however, the biggest hurdle has been the receipt of applications without the accompanying bank information.

This has forced the Revenue Authority to accept applications which cannot be processed since the relevant Letter by Lender Form (Form 2) and Schedule of Interest per Year are missing. Without this key piece of information applications will not be finalised for approval.

Of the applications received thus far, 470 were submitted by customers of Republic Bank, 687 from New Building Society, 96 from the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, 87 from the Bank of Nova Scotia, six from Demerara Bank, four from Hand in Hand Trust, 50 from Citizens Bank and two from Bank of Guyana. Of this amount, in excess of 207 applications were received with outstanding bank information.
To date the GRA has received 1,487 applications of which 1,437 were received in 2013 and the additional 50 were submitted in the first two week of 2014.

This statistic is quite troubling and the GRA will be having talks with the relevant stakeholders in an effort to fully understand the reason for the lack of information being provided to those mortgagers who have expressed their desire to benefit from this relief.
In an effort to facilitate the processing of the Mortgage Interest Relief, the agency has established a Unit catering specifically to this scheme.

This Unit is fully staffed and equipped to address the needs of persons accessing this service and will continue to process applications as submitted. Persons desirous of receiving additional information and those seeking clarification or requesting assistance in relation to the MIR, can contact the Mortgage Interest Relief Unit on telephone # 227-6060 or 227-8222 ext 1040 or the Tax Advisory Services Section on extensions 1200 – 1204. (GRA)

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