Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Land agency to open late for property owners' tax queries

Published:Monday | April 3, 2017 | 12:00 AM

As many Jamaicans continue to fume over massive increases in property taxes that became due on Saturday, the National Land Agency (NLA) yesterday indicated it would be extending its opening hours at two locations, starting today, to facilitate property owners seeking explanations for the new valuations placed on their land.

The new assessments, based on a 2013 revaluation exercise, have resulted in increases of as much as 1,000 per cent for some property owners, despite Government assurances that 272,000 persons would benefit from reduced tax rates.

In a notice published in The Sunday Gleaner yesterday, The NLA said its Land Valuation Division at 8 Ardenne Road in St Andrew and its offices at G1-G Golf View Shopping Centre in Mandeville, Manchester, will open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the meantime, Jamaica Labour Party Senator Charles Sinclair yesterday labelled as "silly and desperately seeking relevance" People's National Party Member of Parliament Dayton Campbell's call for protest against the new property tax package.

Sinclair defended Finance Minister Audley Shaw, declaring that he proposed the best package possible, and questioned Campbell's refusal to intervene when his party was in the wrong, years ago.

"It is interesting that Dayton Campbell did not raise any objection to said valuations, and, in fact, Peter Phillips (former finance minister) gave a commitment to the International Monetary Fund in a letter of intent in 2015, to implement the measures, including the new valuations of 2013," Sinclair said.

Campbell last week urged the Government to roll back the tax measures and threatened to mobilise Jamaicans for protests.