Citizens are expected to begin paying property tax late 2018 or early 2019.
This is according to Finance Minister Colm Imbert in response to WhatsApp messages from UWI lecturer and political activist Rhoda Bharath on the controversial tax.
Bharath said she was tired of the ‘misinformation’ surrounding the issue and sent several messages to Imbert for clarification. She later shared those messages on Facebook.
Questioned as to whether structures such as dog kennels and duck ponds would affect the value of one’s property, the Finance Minister said they would not.
However, he added that location, size and number of rooms will affect the value.
The Finance Minister went on to state that many people will pay little or no property tax.
When Bharath expressed concerns for safety in the process of valuating properties, the Minister reassured that maximum checks and balances would be put in place to avoid impersonation. He also mentioned that it has been the law in T&T for over 200 years that the details of property ownership be made publicly available.
Additionally, in response to the push back against the tax, he reminded that there is nothing new about this tax and the push back is coming from persons who are “frightened by the scare tactics of the opposition” or from those who are unable to account for how they acquired expensive properties.
When questioned on whether the tax will make him unpopular, he responded by saying that many of the persons complaining or trying to scare other persons have forgotten that individual taxpayers now pay less income tax than before.
Lastly, when asked about the use of the revenue from the tax, the Minister said that “Residential Property Tax will go to Local Government” and “Taxes from Commercial and Industrial Properties will go into the Consolidated Fund.”