Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Shaw to speak on proposed adjustment to property tax regime next Tuesday

Published:Thursday | April 6, 2017 | 4:00 AMPaul Clarke
Ruel Reid

Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw is to make known next week Tuesday the proposed adjustments to the property tax regime, coming out of Cabinet deliberations on the issue, Information Minister Ruel Reid has said.

"The Cabinet has just concluded its deliberation in regards to the special property tax regime. The details of our deliberation and the proposed adjustments will be made by Minister Shaw in Parliament next week Tuesday," said Reid.

He said that no penalties or interests would be accrued on tax assessed for this financial year 2017-18.

Last Friday, the Government signalled its intention to review the new property tax system, having come under pressure from the Opposition People's National Party (PNP), as well as several groups, including the Realtors Association, whose president, Edwin Wint, suggested that some people may have to "sell their holdings in order to manage their tax obligations".

The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, which has been among the most strident critics of the new system, has argued that property owners in that sector would be worse off under the revised system.

 

CALLS FOR ROLLBACK

 

Many, including the Opposition, have been calling on the Government to roll back the increase, with Dr Peter Phillips saying that the measure is untenable.

"The new property tax regime is untenable and cannot be allowed to stand. The burden, imposed on all the people, especially the poor, is too great," Phillips said.

At a press conference earlier this week at the PNP's headquarters, Phillips described the new property tax regime as anti-business and one that would have a negative impact on critical sectors such as agriculture and tourism. He listed manufacturing, small hotels,

and the business processing outsourcing sector as important areas that would be significantly and adversely affected.

Under the revised structure, new valuations that were settled on in 2013 under the then PNP administration would replace the one currently in place since 2002. The majority of property owners (65 per cent) would face various degrees of increases.