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COP tells Imbert: Give proper info on property tax

Friday, April 21 2017

THE Congress of the People (COP) is reiterating its call to Finance Minister Colm Imbert to provide full, clear and unambiguous information on the property tax and how it operates since this is the first time that property owners are being required to pay it.

The party’s general secretary Clyde Weatherhead said the minister has failed to inform property owners of penalties they may face if they fail to comply, and continues to provide incomplete and confusing information in his anxiety to implement the measure.

Weatherhead said the Ministry of Finance, in a statement issued on Wednesday, did not tell property owners that failure to submit their valuation return forms (VRFs) with attachments by May 22, can lead to the owner facing a criminal charge and fine for failing to submit “a return within the prescribed time” according to the Valuation of Land Act.

The ministry also did not tell them, he said, that in completing the VRF, if the document is “defective or incomplete” or contains any information which to the owner’s knowledge is false, the owner can be similarly charged.

“The ministry also failed to inform property owners that once furnished with a notice of evaluation that there was provision for owner to object to the valuation even though the Property Tax Act says that ‘property owners would be required to make payment upon receipt of an assessment notice’.” Weatherhead reiterated the COPs position that property tax should be paid to municipal corporations to provide improved services to the burgesses instead of via the Inland Revenue Division to the Consolidated Fund.

“This property tax, taxing the people into Central Government revenues, will not bring about recovery from the present recession.

Taxation will not create prosperity for the nation.” He said the COP had earlier pointed out to the minister that notices of assessment can only be issued after the valuation, to determine the annual rental value and annual taxable value of a residential or commercial property, was completed and the property tax to be paid was determined because he had gotten it wrong earlier on.



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