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Minister: Govt bracing for objections to land valuation
Government expects a “slew” of objections to upcoming valuation of land exercises and has proposed a tribunal to handle objections, says Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West.
West spoke about the matter yesterday while piloting amendments to the Land Valuation legislation in Senate. That bill runs in tandem, with Property Tax amendments also soon to be debated
The Valuation Bill corrects inaccuracies in valuation law. As a result, the last comprehensive valuation was in 1948 and some properties’ value remained low while newer ones command high values, West added.
In recent years, she said, property values rose at “an insane pace” with “insane movement of prices”. Amendments are geared to rectify inequities, she added.
Among amendments, each unit in multi-owner buildings (condominiums and commercial buildings) will be seen as individual land with its own value.
Buildings valued at $18,000 and less will carry a minimum value of $18,000 and the minimum tax liability will be $540 annually.
The fine for failing to submit Valuation Return forms— requiring more information from owners— was increased from $500 to $5,000. West said. “$500 was nothing.”
Because the Tax Appeal Board is overburdened, she added, the proposed tribunal will handle the “slew” of objections anticipated. Owners can also go to court.
Opposition Senator Wade Mark objected to the tribunal being appointed by the Finance Minister, saying it gave the minister too much power.
Mark particularly decried West’s comment that $500 was nothing.”
“It means something for the poor man...!This legislation will render people property-less, landless and homeless..”
Saying the Opposition doesn’t support the bill, Mark added: “ Two things you don’t tamper with— people’s religious beliefs and a man’s property! Land causes revolutions.
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