Thursday 26 November, 2020

Citizens earning under $3,500 a month eligible for property tax waiver

If your total monthly earnings are less than $3,500 per month, you may be eligible for a waiver of your property tax fees.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said via Twitter on Friday that persons earning under $3,500 or in receipt of certain public assistance grants are eligible for a waiver of the tax.

"Persons earning $3,500 or less per month, or persons in receipt of a disability grant; public assistance grant; senior citizen's pension or food card are eligible for a waiver from property tax."

Imbert said this amounts to approximately 150,000 property owners.

In addition, he sought again to clarify the issue of smaller structures such as dog kennels, fowl coops and duck ponds, saying these are minor structures and would not increase the property's tax value.

"Property tax is based on the rental value of properties and not the capital value. So, minor structures like a dog house, duck pond or fowl coop cannot possibly increase the tax payable since these structures cannot increase the rental value of properties in any significant way," he said. 

The Property Tax (Amendment) Bill 2018 and the Valuation of Land (Amendment) Bill 2018 were passed in the Lower House and are currently being reviewed in the Senate.

 

Property Tax Overview

1. Pursuant to Clause 17 of the Property Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Property Tax will become due and payable on or before 30 September in every year. It was previously due on or before 31 March in every year.

2. Clause 5 of the Valuation of Land (Amendment) Bill will amend Section 6 of the Valuation of Land Act, Chap. 58:03 to increase the penalty for failure of the owner of the land to file a return of the land from five hundred ($500.00) dollars to five thousand ($5,000.00) dollars.

3. Clause 18 of the Property Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeks to change the date on which penalties and interest begin to accrue from 15 September to 15 March.

4. The Valuation of Land (Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeks to amend the Valuation of Land Act to provide that where the Commissioner of Valuations is satisfied, on the basis of the return filed, that the Annual Rental Value of a property is less than $18,000.00, the Commissioner shall record such value as the Annual Rental Value of the property.

5. Clause 15 of the Property Tax (Amendment) Bill 2018, seeks to amend section 29 of the Act to include a new subsection (2) which would entitle a person, who has objected to his assessment and is dissatisfied with the decision, to appeal to the Tax Appeal Board.

6. Clause 11 of the Bill will amend Section 19 of the Valuation of Land Act, Chap. 58:03 by providing six additional grounds of objection for owners or local authorities who are dissatisfied with a valuation:

- The annual rental value of the land appearing in the Valuation Roll is incorrect or unfair.

- The land should not have been included in the Valuation Roll.

- The land omitted from the Valuation Roll should be included.

- The land included in a series or complex of land units as a single land on the Valuation Roll should be listed separately on the Valuation Roll or removed.

- The land listed separately in, or omitted from the Valuation Roll should be combined with one or more of a series or complex of land units and listed as one single unit of land.

- The Valuation Roll is incorrect.

7. Clause 15 of the Valuation of Land (Amendment) Bill, 2018 provides for the establishment of a Valuation Tribunal to hear appeals from decisions of the Commissioner of Valuations. Clause 15 will insert new sections 25A – 25I into the Act.

8. Where there has been a deferral of payment of Property Tax on grounds of hardship, the Property Tax Act is being amended by the Bill to provide that such deferral shall be valid for a period of two years and may be renewed if the conditions of the applicant remain unchanged. A decision to grant, vary or revoke a deferral of Property Tax shall be issued by a notice in writing.

For more information visit the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament website's Bill Essentialshttps://bit.ly/2J5px6k

 

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