Jamaican News

New Property Tax Regime April 1

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, has announced that a new property tax regime will be adopted starting April 1.

Opening the 2017/18 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 9, Mr. Shaw informed that as of April 1, property tax liabilities will be based on the adoption of the 2013 valuation roll.

“In other words, a valuation was done in 2013 and property taxes have not been adjusted since then to take account of that valuation. The last adjustment that was done, took into account the 2002 valuations. The 2013 valuation is what we are working on,” he said.

He added that consistent with the Government’s broader goal of reducing tax rates, the property tax rates will be reduced from the range of 1.5 per cent to two per cent, to a range of 0.8 per cent to 1.3 per cent.

“While we reduce the rate, we will be broadening the taxable base by increasing the number of bands from three to nine bands. Under the new regime, 27.1 per cent or 210,512 property owners will actually be paying less property taxes. This is a significant giveback and is consistent with this Government’s principle of only taxing where the taxpayer can afford it,” Mr. Shaw said.

He added that under the new regime, approximately eight per cent or 61,835 property owners will see no change in their property-tax liability.

“In other words, 272,000 people will either see no change or will have a lower tax rate,” he noted.

The Minister also informed that persons will only pay a flat fee of $1,000 for those properties that are valued at $400,000.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw said the Government remains cognisant of the need to ensure that the payment of taxes is based on the ability of persons to pay.

He pointed out that special legal provisions are being made for persons who are physically and economically challenged, including the elderly and pensioners.

He noted that the relevant legislation is being amended to provide for rule-based special discretionary relief for these vulnerable groups.

“Taxpayers who are faced with difficulties in meeting their tax obligations will also be able to make use of the opportunities to pay the property tax monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually, without the requisite penalty being applied,” Mr. Shaw advised.

He added that an additional $3.9 billion will come from the revised property tax system, which will see the total gross revenues from property tax move from just under $5 billion to $8.62 billion

Article by: Latonya Linton
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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