Imbert: Property tax refunds for 801 people

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Finance Minister Colm Imbert – File photo by Ayanna Kinsale

FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert has said 801 people who made property tax payments using the existing system will have their money refunded.

He also expressed the Government’s regret to citizens who were thrown into a state of confusion on March 14, when notices about the suspension of collection of the tax payments were posted at Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) offices across the country.

He made these statements in the House of Representatives on March 15.

“On behalf  of the government, I wish to express my deep regret to all of those who were inconvenienced.”

Imbert said he has requested his ministry’s permanent secretary to ask the BIR to stop collecting the property tax until the new rate of residential property tax is in effect. Under the original system, the tax is calculated on the basis of three per cent of the annual rental value (ARV) of their residential properties.

“Up to March 13,” he continued, “a total of 801 property tax payments had been made, totalling $1,030,864.55.

“All of these taxpayers will be issued with new tax notices at the new rate of two per cent and refunded. I have asked the BIR to do so promptly.”

After recalling the history behind property-tax collection and the associated legislation, Imbert said the Government will rectify this when it brings the Property Tax (Amendment) Bill 2024 to the House on March 18.

Among the bill’s features are the reduction of the percentage used to evaluate property tax from three to two per cent of the ARV of a residential property; better measures for  vulnerable people (such as the elderly) to seek deferrals on property tax; and extension of the period to challenge property-tax valuations from 30 days to six months.