Imbert Education before notice to pay tax
The Ministry of Finance’s education programme for property tax has not come too late in the view of Finance Minister Colm Imbert.
He said education was the “first phase” of the property tax process.
Imbert was responding in the House of Representatives in Port of Spain yesterday to a question from Naparima MP Rodney Charles, on why the education programme was not introduced prior to the launch of the property tax project.
The minister said the first phase was education, along “with a request from property owners to submit a return identifying their properties”.
He said after this would come the assessment and actual notice to property owners on the amount of tax they are required to pay.
“And therefore the education programme is in process long before property owners would get their notice,” he said.
Last week, newspaper ads advised property owners that they had a May 22 deadline to submit returns or pay a penalty, causing some confusion.
The United National Congress (UNC) then went on a political blitz against the property tax.
On Thursday, Imbert announced an education blitz by the ministry.
Asked by Couva South MP Rudy Indarsingh about the cost of the ministry’s education campaign, Imbert said he was certain the return would be “at least 100 times” the cost of the campaign and therefore it would be money well spent.
Imbert said, in the education programme, the Ministry of Finance would be targeting property owners providing them with information through the ministry’s website with the supporting hotline, newspaper ads, television and radio ads, online ads, social media postings and television and radio interviews.
He said the information would focus on how is the system for property tax different from the one used in 2009; the processes for valuation and assessment; what is the annual rental value and how it is calculated; whether all properties have a rental value; what is the valuation role; who is responsible for the valuation of the property and how it is calculated; how often will a valuation be done; and an explanation of the relevant provisions of the Valuation of Land Act and the Property Tax Act.