Allyson West

‘WASTE OF RESOURCES’: Allyson West

THE Government will not be suspending its rollout of property tax, says Government Minister Allyson West.

In November 2021, Government extended the deadline for the submission of the property tax valuation return form to January 31, 2022.

Failure to submit the form constitutes a criminal offence that is punishable by a fine of $5,000 under Section 32 of the Valuation of Land Act.

Growing concerns

At the Senate sitting yesterday, Opposition Senator Wade Mark said given the growing concerns of citizens because of the Government’s accelerated initiative to populate the property valuation roll, could the minister advise whether Government will consider suspending the filing of information on property and land ownership.

“Madam President, the Government does not intend to suspend the gathering and filing of returns of property as it would result in a wastage of scarce resources, time and effort,” said West.

West, the Public Administration Minister, said as evidenced by Clause 78 of the Local Government Reform Bill currently before the Parliament, it is the intention of Government to empower local government corporations, regardless of their political affiliation, to collect and retain residential property tax. This measure is designed to provide local government corporations with a significant and sustainable income stream for their projects and programmes, she said.

“Any move to suspend the process of population of the valuation rolls would therefore undermine this initiative and weaken the local government reform process,” she said.

Mark asked if it was the intention of Government to allocate 100 per cent of the property tax to local government bodies. West said she did not give a percentage but reiterated that the intention was to allocate residential property tax to local government.

Minimum number

of valuations

Mark asked what would it take for the Government to reconsider its position in seeking to impose this “draconian” property tax which the people cannot afford to bear.

Kangaloo said that question was not allowed. In response to other questions, West said she was unable to provide information as to when the population of the valuation roll will be completed.

She said the current exercise was ongoing and at the end of the period “we would be in a better position to indicate when we think we would have obtained the minimum number of valuations required to commence the collection of property tax”.

Last November, responding to an urgent question in Parliament from Opposition Chief Whip David Lee, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the Valuation Division of the Ministry of Finance had not received the required 200,000 valuation return forms needed to proceed with the implementation of property tax.

Imbert had said then that the total number of returns for residential properties at that time was 165,000.

He said, according to the law, Government has to get to 200,000 before the process of implementation of property tax can commence.

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