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Trouble again over lawyers’ taxes:Trouble is brewing over a proposed piece of legislation that can stop lawyers from practising unless their taxes are up-to-date.It is a second time in six years that the issue has come up and lawyers are up in arms over it, again.Yesterday, attorney-at-law Basil Williams said that the Bill was introduced “surreptitiously” last Thursday to Parliament without any consultations with lawyers, although a court case filed in 2003 over the same issue is still pending.Williams, yesterday,Jerseys From China, totally disagreed with proposed amendment to law, which gives the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) the authority to withhold a Practice Certificate if he/she is not satisfied with a particular tax return.Attorney-at-Law Basil WilliamsAccording to the specific amendment,Cheap Stitched Jerseys, which the lawyer said is “hidden away” in the last part of the Bill, “an attorney-at-law shall not practise as an attorney-at-law unless he has been issued a practice certificate by the Commissioner General (Guyana Revenue Authority) in accordance with the provisions of Section 39 of the Tax Act.”This was done without any consultations with the (Guyana) Bar Association and the Guyana Women’s Lawyer Association, Williams said. “In other words,Cheap Jerseys Free, lawyers have not had an opportunity to consult as a body on the contents of this Bill.”The second reading of the Bill is expected tomorrow in Parliament.Williams is convinced that the “Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2009” is intended to be used by Government as a repressive instrument.“But upon a proper apprehension of its clauses,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, it is clear that it is intended to be used by government as a repressive instrument to target and stifle the voices of lawyers who confront and expose the lawlessness of this government.”The lawyer commended the actual Bill and said that in itself, it is acceptable since it is going to be an “epoch-making event since you have a Code of Conduct,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, which has the force of law to regulate the conduct of attorney-at-laws.”He noted that it is an improvement by way of the encouraging consultation with the Guyana Bar Association …“But the consultation must be meaningful…”However, Williams pointed out, the problem is with the attached Fourth Schedule of the proposed bill, under Rule 15, which said that the tax compliance Practice Certificate is a must before lawyers can operate.“In other words, this provision is entirely out of the building … in the architecture and scheme of this Bill. Nobody can have a genuine problem to have a Code of Conduct and where a complaint can be made to a committee. Where does this fit in when you have a legal committee to look into these enquiries and complaints? How could you give one man power to regulate the entire legal profession?”According to Williams, who is also a Parliamentarian for the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR),Authentic China Jerseys, the issue is the cause of concern for lawyers.“It is jurisprudentially wrong to give one man power over the legal profession. What happens to the independence of lawyers? It therefore means that Commissioner General who is responsible to the President or the Executive obviously would be under the control of the Executive and they could target whoever they want to target.”According to Williams, another important issue is that fact that a similar move by Government to regulate the legal provision in 2003 using the same provisions is being contested in court by lawyers.“They don’t care that the matter is before a judge. They still going to override whatever decisions are going to come from the court. It shows you the high-handedness of this government and its intention to stifle freedom of speech in this country.”The issue of taxes and lawyers is not a new one. For years now many feel that legal practitioners are not paying the correct amount.
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