More tax breaks for first-time home-owners

HDC building South Quay  - Photo by Vidya Thurab
HDC building South Quay - Photo by Vidya Thurab

From January 1 government will forgo a total of $30 million a year to provide further tax allowances for first-time home-owners.

Minister of Finance Colm Imbert proposed in Monday’s reading of the national budget to increase the first-time home-owner tax-allowance limit from $25,000 to $30,000 per household on mortgage interest for the first five years.

Tax deductions on home ownership would provide extra disposable income by reducing the amount of tax paid.

“This measure will generate significant investment in the private-sector housing industry,” Imbert said. “This will benefit up to 18,000 home owners.”

He added that property tax cannot be collected until valuation rolls – a prerequisite to collecting the tax – are populated by a minimum of 50 per cent of properties

“To date, 127,969 valuation return forms were submitted for the valuation roll by property owners/occupiers, which although substantial, is insufficient to commence tax collection,” Imbert said.

He added that in 2022 government will restructure the Housing Development Corporation to make a distinction between its collections function and a manager of rental accommodation and as a builder of affordable homes.

Imbert also proposed a merger between the Home Mortgage Bank and the Mortgage Finance Company, the two companies which support HDC’s ability to provide affordable homes.

“We believe that a merger of the Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company Ltd, and the Home Mortgage Bank will create adequate synergies to ensure improved alignment with the delivery of the Government’s national housing programme, a stronger customer value proposition and increased shareholder value,” Imbert said.

The proposed allocation for housing, Imbert said, was $610 million. Last year, government allocated $1 billion.

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