August 7, 2012
Property Tax Bill 2012 before select committee

The Property Tax Bill 2012 is now before a select committee.

During a sitting of the House of Assembly, the Bill had its first reading and a motion was put forward for it to go before a select committee.{{more}}

“This is an involved piece of legislation which we ought to put in a select committee so that we can hammer it out clause by clause, to have inputs from citizens and other non-state actors,” Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said.

Those making up the select committee from the government side include Gonsalves, Minister of Health Clayton Burgin, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Douglas Slater, Minister of Transportation and Works Julian Francis, Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil McKie, Parliamentary Secretary Elvis Charles and the Attorney General, Judith Jones-Morgan.

Those selected from the Opposition include Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, Godwin Friday, St Clair Leacock, Patel Matthews, Daniel Cummings and Senator Linton Lewis.

During the presentation of the fiscal measures earlier this year, the Prime Minister announced that Vincentians would experience on average, a 15 per cent increase in property taxes.

In his presentation, Gonsalves said the annual rental value (ARV) method used to assess property taxes was usually difficult to determine, especially in areas where owners occupy all of the properties and that according to consultants, a neutral tax rate on property owners would be 0.07 per cent of market value which on average would be equal to the existing 5 per cent of the ARV.

He further explained that it was the rate applied to the valuation and not the method used to produce the list that determined the tax assessed.

The new arrangement was expected to generate an additional EC$3.2 million in revenue since the valuation list has existed, since the 1990s.

The prime minister said the overall revenue impact of the new tax regime will be greater and fairer, as it will capture 10,000 more taxpayers and systems will be in place to enforce compliance and reduce delinquency.

According to Gonsalves, only 25,940 properties, representing a rental value of EC$71 million, are registered under the existing system. The new tax arrangement will capture 40,851 properties and 15,796 built-structures, representing an aggregate value of EC$9.05 billion.(DD)