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Guyana is located on the north-eastern coast of South America and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Venezuela, Brazil, and Suriname. Its total area is approximately 215,000 square kilometres (83,000 square miles). The country is divided into three counties: Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice and ten administrative regions, with its capital residing in the City of Georgetown. 90% of the population lives on the coastal strip, while the Amerindians (Guyana’s indigenous people) mainly inhabit the savannahs and forest regions.
Guyana is a republic within the British Commonwealth. It became independent on 26 May 1966 and operates under a written Constitution (1980) with a form of government based on the Westminster System, with an elected Head of State. Guyana is the only English speaking country in South America with a population of approximately 750,000. The legal system is based mainly on the English common law; however, vestiges of a Roman-Dutch legal system remain, especially in the area of land tenure. The currency is the Guyanese dollar (GYD).
Guyana’s economic activity has historically been dependent on the export of rice, gold, bauxite, and timber. However, Guyana is now on track to become one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world, with its first production in December 2019. The crude was subsequently exported, making Guyana officially an oil exporter.
Guyana’s fiscal regime is based on self-assessment and voluntary compliance. It includes a mixture of direct taxes and indirect taxes. For individuals, direct taxation takes the form of Income Tax imposed via the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) method for employees and quarterly instalments for self-employed persons. Corporations direct taxation takes the form of Corporation Tax. Both individuals and corporations are also subject to property tax and withholding tax (WHT). Guyana has three double tax treaties (Canada, United Kingdom and CARICOM) and negotiations are on-going for a fourth with the United Arab Emirates.
Guyana resident companies are liable to tax on their worldwide income. Non-resident companies that carry on a trade or business in Guyana are subject to tax on the income that is derived from Guyana. Corporate residence is determined by reference to the location of the central management and control of the business of a company.