No commitments on property taxes
FINANCE MINISTER Dr Peter Phillips is non-committal as to whether the Government will seek to charge taxes on the improved value of properties.
"I have to wait and see what recommendations will be made," Phillips said at a Gleaner Editors' Forum yesterday.
Phillips indicated that an increase in the rate for property taxes is likely, but said it could not have been included among the $19.3-billion menu he announced in the House of Representatives last Thursday.
"We are in the year of assessment. We cannot make the property tax retroactive, because what you would have is that people who have paid already would have one rate and those who have not, another rate," Phillips explained.
"It is not that we are unaware that property taxes are there and represent the areas of some worth, but it was felt that it was an appropriate thing to do now," he added.
The compliance rate for property tax is approximately 50 per cent. The tax is currently calculated on the unimproved value of the property.
On property, the unimproved value of which does not exceed $300,000, the taxpayer is required to pay $1,000. In the case of property where the unimproved value exceeds $300,000, the State charges $1,000 on the first $300,000 and then 0.75 cents for every dollar thereafter.
Last month, businessman Paul Scott said one of the biggest flaws in Jamaica is that the tax is not being levied at the correct rate because the authorities have done no evaluations over the last 10 years.
"So we don't have the number-one thing working for whatever reasons, maybe it's political, but we need to have equity in how property taxes are done," said Scott, who is also third vice-president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.