Government Senator Robert Le Hunte said citizens would pay about 0.6 per cent of their disposable income in property tax and he wanted to "kill" the talk that it was oppressive and people would lose their homes.
He was contributing to debate on the Property Tax (Amendment) Bill on Thursday in the Senate.
He said every time the topic came up in Parliament there was the idea put forth that once implemented property tax would be burdensome and oppressive to the less fortunate. He gave the example of a property valued at $800,000 with a rental value of approximately $2,000 per month the property tax (at three per cent) would be $54 per month which represented 0.6 per cent of a joint income of $8,400. He said for a $4 million property with a $12,000 monthly rental value the property tax would be $324 which was less than half of one per cent of projected income.
"The property tax rates we are proposing are in no way oppressive."
Le Hunte pointed out rates were higher in other countries such as in Barbados a $1.3 million property would be a tax of $812 per month which represented 5.4 per cent of income while a Canada on a $300,000 property the property tax would represent 4.3 per cent of income. He said property tax around the world, in both developed and developing countries, normally represented three to six per cent of disposable income while in Trinidad and Tobago the proposed taxation based on rental value was ranging from quarter to half of one per cent of disposable income.
“So the concept of people talking about losing their properties and so forth…I think it is a little bit alarmist and one that is tempted to mislead the population with that type of rhetoric."
He pointed out in Singapore, which is talked about a lot for reaching developed country status, the method to calculate property tax is exactly the same with rental value though the percentage of income was higher at between four to 16 per cent. He said Singapore's per capita income is three times higher than this country but the property tax rates even at the lower end were higher than in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Let us kill this idea and this discussion about this property tax being oppressive and that property tax is going to be so high and is going to a burden on individuals.”