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Property tax increases

Published:Wednesday | March 31, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Finance Minister Audley Shaw has announced a whopping increase in property tax rates effective tomorrow.

The property tax increase will see the flat rate move from $600 to $1,000. The flat rate is appli-cable to property with unimproved value up to $300,000.

Rates in respect of property with unimproved values exceeding $300,000 will attract 0.75 per cent for every additional dollar, up from 0.5 per cent.

According to Gleaner calculations, a property valued at $1 million will now attract $6,250 in taxes, up from $4,100.

A property valued at $10 million will now attract $73,750 in taxes, up from $49,100.

"I have signed the order. It will be put in the Gazette tomorrow (today) and therefore, effective April 1, these new rates will apply," Shaw told the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament.

Important source of funding

Shaw said property taxes represent an important source of funding for local government activities. There is currently a 55 per cent compliance rate and the finance minister said that will have to change.

"We are sending the signal that we intend to take very strong steps and, in the Budget presentation, I intend to spend a significant amount of time on the area of tax compliance, both in respect of property taxes and other tax types," Shaw said.

Property taxes are used for the collection and disposal of solid waste as well as paying for street lights and administrative costs of parish councils.

Property taxes were last adjusted in 2005, when Government did away with the previous value-band system.