Over 272,000 persons to Benefit from Reduced Property Tax Rates
Issued by: MINISTRY OF FINANCE AND THE PUBLIC SERVICE
Come April 1, 2017 Property Tax rate is to be reduced from the current range of 1.5% to 2% down to 0.8% with a cap at 1.3%. The reduced rate will see over 272, 000 property owners benefitting from a reduction in property tax paid, or experience no change in the amount charged in 2016. A flat fee of $1000.00 will remain in effect for properties valued at $400,000.00 and all property owners will now benefit from that prior to the computation of the property tax for properties valued in excess of $400,000.00
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. 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% with a 13.8 billion in arrears of property tax.
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.
The new property tax regime is based on a horizontal equity approach and creates more equity within the system, as property owners will benefit from a graduating application of the rates. Property owners will continue paying based on the unimproved value of the land regardless of the improvement to the building located on that land, should there be one.
Particular consideration has been made for pensioners, the disabled and the elderly, which will take the form of the continued special discretionary relief for those citizens in that grouping. Exemptions for the agricultural sector has also been taken in account as the government is focused on building the agricultural sector which is a significant contributor to the economic growth programme.
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 overtime, once proof of dwelling for residential purpose is verified.