Guyana to close Net cafes that offer cheap calls

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) -- Guyana plans to close hundreds of Internet cafes that it accuses of bypassing the telephone company system to offer cheap international calls.

The Revenue Authority accuses them of tax evasion because they do not charge sales tax or other fees for calls made through alternative phone providers like Skype, Vonage and Packet8.

The agency says cafes are multiplying so fast that "their collective impact on the national revenue is too significant to ignore."

It says callers who use Digicel and the U.S.-owned Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Co. account for 16 percent of sales tax revenues. GTT spokeswoman Allison Parker praised the move on Wednesday and said the agency has long complained about the cafes' effect on revenue.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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