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'Ease-up on taxes'
D' NeWs MaN
Member No.: 2,263
Joined: 26-March 09
Property owners on a fixed income will receive a waiver or a reduction in the proposed increased property taxes once they can prove to the Board of Inland Revenue or its replacement, the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority, they are in an impoverished financial position.
Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira made the announcement while winding up the House of Representatives' debate on the 2009/ 2010 Budget at the Red House, Port of Spain, yesterday as she noted that the waiver or reduction in the increased property taxes was not just limited to existing homeowners in financial hardship.
"We go beyond the person who is actually living in the house, and in that circumstance, you know, even on the transfer, even on inheritance, even if the person who inherits it finds themselves in that same situation, this Government is prepared either to suspend or reduce the level of tax to that person," Nunez-Tesheira said.
The property taxes increase is contained in the 2009/2010 Budget, which was passed with amendments by the House of Representatives at around 2 p.m. yesterday.
Nunez-Tesheira sought to allay fears among many commercial, industrial, agricultural and residential property owners about the impact the increase in property taxes will have on their finances, at a time when the country is still experiencing the impact of the global economic downturn.
"What I really want to address is the propaganda that says that this Government does not care about people who are on fixed incomes. I hope they are listening, Mr Speaker, and I want them to hear that the current land and building taxes does not make provision for a person's financial position," she said.
The minister added that the relevant section of the Land and Building Taxes Act only provides relief if the structure of a building suffers from grievous damage or an act of God while the new legislation "is going to give relief for those who find themselves in a fixed-income situation and because of their financial hardship".
"It will have regard to the deferment of the tax or reduction of the tax where we are satisfied, that is the Inland Revenue, the authority is satisfied, having regard to the impoverished condition of the owner and his inability to improve his financial position significantly by reason of age, employment or other special circumstances, that undue hardship to that owner would otherwise ensue," Nunez-Tesheira said as she quoted from the new legislation.
She said this was the sign of a caring Government and not, in the words of one caller to a post-budget forum last week, a callous one.
Nunez-Tesheira reiterated her explanation in the budget presentation that the residential property taxes will be based on rental value and not capital value, and the flat percentage of three per cent will ensure equity throughout the country in this regard.
"Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive."
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