Fri | Jan 19, 2018

JLP senator defends property tax increase

Published:Sunday | April 2, 2017 | 6:37 PM
Senator Charles Sinclair

A government senator is claiming that the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has done all that it can legally to protect Jamaicans from absorbing greater increases in property taxes.

This comes as the government said late last week that it will meet to discuss the impact of the property tax increases, which took effect on April 1.

In a release today criticising the Opposition People’s National Party’s calls for protests against the tax increases, Senator Charles Sinclair noted that the increases were as a result of a 2013 property valuation conducted by the PNP.

He argues that the PNP increased rates to 1.5 per cent for properties valued at $1 million and under; and two per cent for properties valued at more than $1 million.

According to Sinclair, the JLP has decreased those rates to 0.8 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.  He says Finance Minister Audley Shaw also increased the threshold for the flat rate from $1000 to $400,000, and says several people are also set to pay as much as 50 per cent less taxes than they did last year.

The JLP senator says it is not legally possible for the Government to make adjustments to the valuations done by the Commissioner of Land Valuations.

He is therefore inviting parish councils to organise a series of fora to educate property owners about how property taxes are used. He says these fora should also be used to make owners aware of objections to valuation of their properties and how they can seek relief from discretionary relief committees.