Halt on property tax

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

There were also two years of consultation before the bill was brought back to Parliament and eventually lapsed.

In 2020, the government mod- ified the legislation to make it a simple majority bill, which was passed in December 2021.

Regarding the property tax, the PNM government started gather- ing information on properties to develop valuation rules in 2017.

The Property Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was introduced to Parliament on February 2, 2018, passed in the House of Representatives on March 2, 2018, passed in the Senate on May 11, 2018, and assented to June 8, 2018. Then there was the Valuation of Land (Amendment) Bill, which was introduced and passed in the House of Representatives on May 24, 2023. The bill sought to amend the Valuation of Land Act, Chap 58:03, providing for the valuation of land for taxation, rating and other purposes.

The bill was introduced in the Senate on May 31, 2023, passed in the Senate on June 2, 2023, and assented to on June 7, 2023.

Imbert noted there were several court matters and injunctions that delayed both the TTRA and Property Tax Acts.

“In 2022, within a couple of months (of the TTRA bill being passed), they (the UNC) gone to court again. They said the bill is unconstitutional, the act is unconstitutional, and we’ve been in the court with them for almost two years.”

“They lost in the High Court, they lost in the Court of Appeal, they gone to the Privy Council. And while we are there seeking to implement this new agency, they keep applying for an injunction.”

The Public Services Association (PSA) was also part of the court and injunction action, saying parts of the TTRA legislation were unconstitutional and that the Government did not have the power to delegate its tax-reve- nue-collection duties.

High Court Justice Westmin James dismissed the case on November 17, 2023, but the PSA appealed the judgment and asked for an injunction to block the authority’s implementation. The government, therefore, pushed back the implementation of the TTRA Revenue Authority to March 1.

But, Imbert said the government was pressing on.

The property tax took effect from January 1.