The Auditor General’s 2017 report shows while the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has collected more taxes than was anticipated, revenue inclusive of rent and royalties has declined due to lower gold declarations.In the end of year budget and reconciliation report, it noted that the projected revenue for 2017 was $186 billion. Instead, Government actually collected $195 billion in current revenue. This includes duties, levy, personal income and withholding taxes.The highest earnings came from the internal revenue category. Personal income tax collection grew by $2.5 billion. This, according to the Government, is because substantial arrears payments were recovered from self-employed persons through various initiatives. One of the initiatives GRA has been trying is a tax amnesty.In September of this year, GRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statia had disclosed that billions of dollars were collected as of the end of August through theGold declarations take a downward spiralimplementation of the amnesty.According to Statia at the time, GRA had managed to collect over $5 billion so far and this figure may increase. Statia also reminded that this was the last extension that will be granted to the amnesty, while encouraging defaulters to pay.The tax amnesty worked by allowing taxpayers who file and pay all principal taxes on or before June 30, 2018 to have all their interest and penalties waived, while those who filed and paid all principal taxes between July 1, 2018 and September 30, 2018 would have 50 per cent of interest and penalties waived.At the end of the previous amnesty which ended in June 2018, it was announced that $3 billion was raked in, but this number had subsequently climbed. The final amnesty ended September 30.“Amounts totalling $15.837 billion were estimated to be collected from customs duties, trade and other taxes, fees, fines and licences for the period under review while actual collections paid into the Consolidated Fund totalled $18.890 billion,” the report also states.“This represents a positive variance of 19 per cent, equivalent to $3.053 billion. Notwithstanding the positive performance, there were substantial shortfalls for the revenue categories of Export Duties, Stamp Duty, Overtime Fees, Warehouse Rent and Charges and Liquor Licence totalling $48.806 million,” the report notes.The GRA was also able to recover $950 million from 27,000 suspicious Income Tax returns, after reviewing them. But Value Added Tax (VAT), royalties from gold declarations and rent also declined significantly.Excise taxes, which are applied to imported and manufactured goods, also saw a downturn. According to the Auditor General, the reduction in excise taxes was mainly due to lower than projected vehicular imports. The increased collections in some categories, the AG went on to note, were able to cushion the shortfalls from gold and other categories of collections.GoldIt was reported in May of this year that the Guyana Gold Board (GGB) projected total declarations to be 800,000 ounces, including Canadian-owned Guyana Goldfields projected to declare 200,000 ounces and Troy Resources, its main competitor, 100,000 ounces.Additionally, the GGB had projected that purchases would be 96,000 ounces for the first quarter of 2018, while also anticipating foreign sales to amount to 88,208 ounces with US$111.5 million in revenue in the same period.When it was laid in the National Assembly in August, the Finance Ministry’s Midyear report had recorded contractions in several of the traditional sectors, including mining. Finance Minister Winston Jordan, in addressing the National Assembly about the country’s economic performance, had admitted as much.He had noted that the gold sector suffered a decline of 9.1 per cent. This is equivalent to a decrease of 288,114 ounces in gold declaration. The report also revealed that this represented a 19.4 per cent shortfall, below the original projection set by Government.The Minister in his report also noted that there are a number of downside economic and fiscal risks to the economy, both domestic and external, which can frustrate the achievement of the various revised targets.