UNC wants answers on hold on property tax

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The property tax valuation notice San Fernando resident Steve Khan received, which sets the annual rental value (ARV) of his wooden and concrete house at $96, 264. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

THE Opposition UNC wants Government to clarify reports about notices being circulated regarding the suspension of property tax payments.

In a statement on March 14, UNC public relations officer Dr Kirk Meighoo said the reports claim these notices were circulating online and were posted at government offices.

“We await further clarification and details from the Ministry of Finance.”

Meighoo reiterated the UNC’s opposition to property tax and called for Government not to implement it.

“The UNC remains committed to fighting against the imposition of this unfair property tax.”

Pensioner Steve Khan, who lives at Panco Lane in San Fernando, also described the tax as unfair.

He said no one came to value his house to evaluate it for the payment of property tax.

But Khan added that he received correspondence from the Finance Ministry, which said the annual rental value (ARV) of his house was  $96,264.

“How you could put a value on something that you never see?”

Khan said the house is 45 years old.

“The upper part is board and the bottom is concrete.”

Khan said he has since filed an objection to the ARV on his house.

In a statement on November 18, 2023, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said, “For the record, the Property Tax Act makes it clear property tax is only three per cent of the ARV for residential properties, after first deducting ten per cent from the ARV. It is not the same amount as the rental value.”

He added, “For example, a property which has been assessed to have an annual rental value of $36,000 will attract property tax of $972 per year or $81 per month.”

In its latest Article IV report on Trinidad and Tobago, which was issued on March 11, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) welcomed initiatives by Government such as the collection of property tax and operationalisation of the Revenue Authority that would rebuild financial buffers to respond to potential shocks to the economy.

“Additional revenue could be generated by adjusting the fiscal regime of the energy sector, boosting non-energy revenue, and strengthening tax compliance and administration.”