Massive land taxes coming for Jamaicans

Published: Tuesday | February 19, 2013 Comments 0
A view of the city from Smokey Vale in upper St Andrew. - Norman Grindley/ Chief Photo-grapher
A view of the city from Smokey Vale in upper St Andrew. - Norman Grindley/ Chief Photo-grapher

Calculations done by The Gleaner indicate that a person owning land with a value of $1 million, will, effective April 1, be paying approximately $14,500 yearly, representing a 132 percentage increase.

Land valuing $5 million will now attract a 160.69 per cent increase, which moves the property tax from about $36,250 to $94,500 per annum.

However, landowners should brace for another jump in property taxes when the current revaluation of land exercise is completed for implementation in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Senior Director of Revenue Enhancement and Resource Mobilisation in the Ministry of Local Government Calvert Thomas said the revaluation of lands across the country was at an advanced stage and should be completed by mid-2013.

Thomas told The Gleaner yesterday that the new property values would take effect in another year from now. The improved value of lands could push the cost of property taxes significantly higher.

The last land revaluation exercise was done a little more than 10 years ago.

Commenting on the current increase, Thomas said the hike represented a contribution to collect solid waste on a consistent basis and to pay the cost of increasing annual rates for street light.

Delinquency

Discussing the high level of delinquency in the payment of property taxes, the senior local government director said stringent measures were being considered to get people to meet their obligations.

"What we have is a legislative framework that has not brought persons who are delinquent to book," he said.

He said a plethora of recommendations were now before the Cabinet for consideration.

Property owners owe the local authorities $6.4 billion in property taxes.

Thomas said landowners were given the opportunity to pay property taxes on a quarterly or bi-annual basis.

The local government officer also pointed out that persons such as pensioners, who might have serious challenges paying their property taxes could be considered under a special discretionary relief arrangement.

He said for the new fiscal year, each local authority would be asked to set up a special discretionary committee to consider on a case-by-case basis persons who might have a difficulty paying the tax.

To calculate your property taxes go to http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/propertytaxcalc.php

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