Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Property tax calculator launched online

Property owners trying to calculate what their average property tax payments might be like can now reference a new online ‘property tax calculator’, courtesy Innovation Activators. 

Speaking to LoopTT, developer Shiva Deokiesingh said the online calculator uses the parameters outlined by governing legislation in order to calculate an estimate of what one’s property tax payment is likely to be.

The group has international experience in varied areas of specialisation including web development, brand management, advertising, technology solutions, database management, GPS and mapping.

Deokiesingh says the idea came after the flood of interest in the topic, as government prepares to implement the tax.

“Posts about the property tax in Trinidad and Tobago were flooding our news feeds. We wanted to try to reduce the legal jargon and the computations involved, to make it easier for people to understand what amount they may have to pay.”

“This is what motivated us to make this web app. While we can't simplify the laws and the mindset of the political parties involved, we wanted to help reduce the complexity and intimidation around computation of the property tax.”

The company applied legislation and rates published by the Ministry of Finance and references the Valuation of Land Chapter 58:03, Act 18 of 1969, The Property Tax Act, 2009, and Act No. 17 of 2009, An ACT to amend the Valuation of Land Act.

“It applies a category's property tax rate to the annual taxable value derived from the annual or monthly rental or current market value that the user enters.”

“The likelihood of the estimate being close to the actual property tax home owners may pay is dependant on the user's ability to accurately estimate their property's annual rental value or current market value.”

Deokiesingh says the feedback has been quite positive.

“Initial feedback received was that the calculations were simple enough and people would not need this type of calculator.”

“However, we have had over 10,000 users within two days--so there were certainly people who felt the property tax calculator was an easier go-to.”

Deokiesingh says that although the calculator is just an estimate and not the actual value that will be calculated by the Ministry, it might serve as a helpful guide.

“Currently there are sample calculations for only occupied residential and commercial properties online and in the newspapers.”

“The calculator will be helpful in gauging the property tax amount for occupied and vacant properties across agricultural, commercial, industrial and residential categories.”

“Users can enter a conservative or exorbitant rental value estimate to get a sense of what the range their property tax amount might fall between.”

“There is still uncertainty around estimating the rental value which property owners will eventually be provided with.”

Deokiesingh says the group’s next step is to be able to calculate the actual rental value, once this information is released by government, and to provide assistance in the estimation process.

Citizens can also share their views to social media once their calculations have been estimated, saying whether they are happy or disappointed with their estimates.

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to share their opinions about the estimate without having to share any actual dollar values.”

“We received feedback from users being surprised by their estimates so we decided to build in the sharing function so the public could communicate something about the tax other than whether they are for or against it. Right now, 63% of users who have clicked this option have shared a positive sentiment.”

To try the tax calculator go to www.tax.tt http://bit.ly/2q7hIaa 

More information on the proposed property tax can be found at the Finance Ministry here: www.finance.gov.tt/propertytax/about-property-tax/categories-rates-and-classifications

 

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: