A FARMER will typically pay just 80 cents per month under the new Property Tax, said Finance Minister Colm Imbert yesterday. He was winding up debate jointly on two bills to amend the Property Tax and Valuation of Land Acts in the Lower House. Imbert chided the United National Congress for having done nothing to reduce the 10 per cent tax payable on all types of land across the board in Chaguanas.
Saying agricultural land in that borough is now at 10 per cent of the monthly rental value of the lot, he boasted that by the Property Tax legislation the Government is cutting the rate by one-tenth to a new rate of just one per cent. Saying a typical farmer’s lot rents for $80 per month, he calculated the new tax rate at just 80 cents.
“Our property tax will be one of the lowest in the world,” Imbert trumpeted. “The Member for St Augustine (Prakash Ramadhar who was not present) owns a property in Florida. It;s online. The tax on that is $30,000 and he pays it happily.” Imbert defended the Valuations Tribunal to which property owners will be able to appeal the size of valuations of property tax on their properties.
He said it would have been totally unconscionable to have added property tax appeals to the burden already on the existing Tax Appeal Board (TAB) which already hears appeals involving the likes of VAT and petroleum production taxes. He said the tribunal offers a system “much simpler, less costly and easier” than the TAB.
Imbert said that at any time in an appeal to the tribunal including after judgement, a property owner can also send their case to the High Court for a determination. “We are not taking away rights but making it better.” He defended the independence of the tribunal, reading property tax legislation that said the minister shall not give directions to the tribunal for any particular case.
Regarding appointments of the tribunal, he said any tribunal member can appeal his/her dismissal by judicial review if alleging the minister acting whimsically in evoking the appointment.