TABAQUITE MP Suruj Rambachan said the amendments to the property tax legislation could lead to increased rents for citizens.
He was contributing to debate on amendments to property tax and valuation of land legislation in Parliament yesterday. He said that because property owners have to pay taxes their rental costs may go up and with hundreds of small businesses having to pay the property tax as well they may have raise the prices of their goods and services.
“The burden is a very real one.” He said that while $81 per month on a property with $3000 monthly rental value did not seem like a lot it must be taken into account with so many other things that had risen including cost of living and cost of transport as well as other taxes such as health surcharge, stamp duty and personal income.
“There is a plethora of taxes that people pay in this country.” He said $81 means nothing to a man who buys a Ford Mustang to drive but it would mean something to a man driving a 10 year-old Nissan B14. He said people would not mind paying taxes if they received value for money. “People perceive it as a reactive tax to bleed the pockets of people to fund their incompetence.” He also pointed on that citizens do not receive interest on the tax refunds and VAT refunds which they have been waiting years for. Rambachan expressed scepticism that Government would provide refunds for the current legislation within 60 days as promised. “That is pie in the sky.”
Rambachan expressed concern about the finance minister appointing members of the valuation tribunal. He said that while Finance Minister Colm Imbert said his role stops after he appointed the members he also had the ability to suspend members if they did not follow his wishes. He said there is always a resistance to taxes but that would be more acute if people perceive their taxes were being wasted and he called on the Government to ensure that the taxes would be used in the regions where they are collected as is envisioned by local government reform.