—KINGSTON, Jamaica — Come April 1, the property tax rate is to be reduced to 0.8 per cent with a cap at 1.3 per cent down from the current range of 1.5 per cent to two per cent.
According to Finance Minister Audley Shaw, the reduced rate will see over 272, 000 property owners benefitting from a reduction in taxes, or experience no change in the amount charged in 2016.
Shaw, who was speaking in Parliament today, said that this move is consistent with the government’s thrust to create a more equitable and modern tax system which will benefit a wide cross section of Jamaicans.
A release from the ministry stated that the government has also taken steps to ramp up compliance with the introduction of a specially assigned team to collect outstanding property taxes from corporate entities and private citizens.
“In addition to recently rolling out mobile property tax units, which will be deployed in communities starting with those areas that have the lowest level of compliance, consideration is also being given to link the payment of property taxes to the issuance of a Tax Compliance Certificate. Currently the compliance rate is a mere 51 per cent with $13.8 billion in property tax arrears,” the release said.It was also noted that increased compliance of property tax will allow the municipal corporations to provide street lighting, solid waste removal, and municipal road rehabilitation, among other social services at the level of a community.
Strata Corporations will also see a significant reduction in property tax liabilities under the new property tax regime, with the application of a Special Tax Treatment, which is based on the Unit Entitlement basis. Under the old system residents within Strata managed complexes would be required to pay based on the total property tax payable for the entire floor space of the complex. The Special tax Treatment is expected to come in effect sometime in May of the new fiscal year. Owners of Strata properties will therefore see a delay in their assessment for the 2017-18 fiscal year.
Property taxes were last revised in 2013 and the revaluation of properties was completed in September of the same year. Special consideration will also be given to those residences that are situated in communities that have been industrialised over time, once proof of dwelling for residential purpose is verified.