Trinidad Government announces reduction in property tax

The Trinidad and Tobago government has introduced new legislation that will reduce the rate of residential property tax by as much as 33 per cent.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert said that the Property Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2024, will be debated on Monday.

Imbert told legislators on Friday that the new legislation is intended to reduce the rate of residential property tax from three to two per cent “which represents an effective reduction of property tax by 33 per cent.

“This is intended to reduce the impact of the new valuations, since it is clear that some property owners believe that the old 1948 valuations should still be used in the modern era, in 2024 and it is important to gradually adjust and correct that erroneous belief”.

He said it will also extend the time in relation to the year 2024 for the Board of Inland Revenue to issue Notices of Assessment up to June 30, 2024.

“This would permit more time for the Valuation Division to review valuations under query and adjust where necessary and advise the Board of Inland Revenue(BIR) of any tax assessments that that are required to be updated”.

IN addition, the new legislation will allow for the extension of all applicable time periods by Order, as is the case under the Valuation of Land Act.

Imbert said this will ensure that the government can extend any further time limits under the Property Tax Act if required, inclusive but not limited to the date upon which Property Tax is to be paid and the date upon which penalties are incurred.

Imbert said he  also wanted to advise that Regulations to give effect to the deferral form required under section 23 of the Property Tax Act were made on Thursday and will be published Friday.

“This will allow indigent, elderly and infirm persons who satisfy the criteria under section 23 of the Property Tax Act to make applications to the Board of Inland Revenue for the deferral of Property Tax.”

The Finance Minister said , further,  an Order will soon be published in relation to extending the time period for persons to bring objections to notices of valuation from 30 days to six months.

“Importantly, this time period only commences after service of the notice of valuation on the residential land owner or occupier. The intention here is clear: the government intends to be transparent with respect to the valuations that have been sent to residential land owners and occupiers by the Commissioner of Valuations and will give owners and occupiers additional time to lodge objections, which must be determined and answered by the Commissioner of Valuations in the first instance before being adjudicated upon by other authorities if there is still a dispute”.

Imbert said that the government expects that these measures will go a long way in addressing the teething issues currently being faced, “and we also undertake to take all necessary and future legislative and operational measures needed to ensure that Property Tax is implemented equitably across Trinidad and Tobago”.

But he expressed his disappointment at notices that were posted on the doors of some Regional Revenue Collection Offices on Thursday stating that property tax payments had been suspended until further notice.

“These notices were not authorised and should not have been put up, especially in view of the fact that the Property Tax Amendment Act 2024 is not yet law,” he said. (CMC)

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