After hearing the “cries of the people”, Government has implemented a four payment instalment plan, inclusive of a five per cent discount, for taxpayers. In addition, those who own vacant property valued under $450,000 will get a ten per cent rebate.
The announcements were made by Prime Minister Mia Mottley as she delivered a Ministerial Statement on the land tax payment issue in the House Assembly today.
The Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment repeated the call for Barbadians to stay the course.
Mottley told the House: “This Government, my Government has taken the time to listen to the cries and to act where we can. In my 2019 Budget Speech I asked that we as a nation stay the course.
“We all knew it would not be easy but my Government is determined that we should all share the burden fairly and that no group would be unduly affected by the measures which we implemented.”
She said that taxpayers who enter the instalment arrangement can benefit from the five per cent discount once they do so before July 26.
“We have created a framework to allow Barbadians to pay their land tax bill over a longer period of time. We will be facilitating payments in instalments. We have entered into an arrangement with the Barbados Revenue Authority which allows a taxpayer to pay the bill in up to four instalments. This would allow people to better plan and be able to pay over a longer period of time.”
The Prime Minister said there would be relief, too, for owners of vacant lots. She explained that 1,870 vacant lots will not benefit from the discount with nearly 35,000 benefitting from it. But the discount is not available to owners of commercial lots.
“Any person owning vacant property which is valued under $450,000 will now attract a ten per cent discount on the amount of land tax they would have to pay to the Barbados Revenue Authority. In a case where the land tax has already been paid, and a credit exists such a credit will be applied by the Barbados Revenue Authority to your next land tax bill.”
The Prime Minister, who interrupted Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds to deliver the Ministerial Statement, explained that the increase in land tax is only on properties valued more than $450 000.
“For most property owners the decrease income tax will be significantly larger than any increase in land tax charge to any person owning a property over $450,000. The decrease in the amount of income tax being paid will be more than what Government is asking persons to pay in land tax.”
Mottley said the early issuing of the land tax bill was to allow people more time to get their house in order.
“There has also been an outcry about the early issue date of these bills and the comparatively shorter discount periods for taxpayers to take advantage of. That has not been the case. I would like to remind the public that the land tax payments are always due before March 31 of the financial year in which they are issued.
“Once you pay before March 31, 2020, you will not be subject to any penalty or any interest. The due date has not changed. Previously, land tax bills would have been issued in September which would have actually given you a shorter period of time to pay your bill between September and March 31,” she said.
Mottley continued: “We took the deliberate decision to be able to issue the bills by the end of May to give you a full ten months
to be able to make way to being able to pay the bills rather than being forced to do so within that six-month period. We acknowledge that there was a five per cent and ten per cent discount if paid 30 days and 60 days after the issuance of the bill. We chose only to offer the five per cent discount this year instead of the ten per cent discount as well.”