People in upper-class areas would pay the highest property taxes, while those who received old age pension would be exempted from paying the tax, PNM MP Colm Imbert said yesterday. Speaking in yesterday's Lower House debate on Government's property tax, Imbert said under the bill people receiving old age pensions could have the tax deferred. He said they would ultimately be exempted since they might not have an opportunity to change their financial circumstances except by winning a Lotto or via a gift. Imbert noted high taxes which currently obtained in southern properties. However, he said, there would be reductions under the tax, including commercial properties.
It would be property owners in upper class areas, such as Fairways "with palatial mansions," who would pay higher taxes, he added. Imbert said a person who rented out a property for $15,000 to $20,000 monthly would have to pay $7,000 to $8,000 annually in taxes. He said such people normally paid about $1,000. "Anybody who believes those who earn more should pay more cannot be against this tax," Imbert added. He listed several examples of how much tax some properties in various parts of T&T– from north to south – would have to pay:
1. a Cedar Drive, Pleasantville, property, now paying $2,012 in tax, will in future have annual property tax of $712;
2. a Pleasantville Circular property, with current tax of $1,728, will go to $585 annually;
3. a Mt Moriah Road, San Fernando, property paying $4,800 will pay $1,600;
4. a three-bedroom Woodbrook house, renting for $3,000 to $4,000 monthly, will pay a tax of $1,166;
5. a Gasparillo house, renting for $2,000, will pay $583 annually;
6. a Point Fortin three-bedroom house, renting for $1,500, will pay $437 annually;
7. a Mayaro three-bedroom house, renting for $800, will pay $180 annually; and,
8. a Gandhi Village house, renting for $800, will pay less than $200 in tax.
Imbert said buildings would be valued in various categories – executive house, modern, standard, sub-standard and shacks. The rental value for a standard house would be half the rental value of an executive house, he said.
He said the tax contributed to one per cent of Government's revenue earning capacity in 2010. He said he had listened to "so much foolishness from the holier-than-thou sanctimonious hypocrites on that side," regarding the bill. He noted UNC MPs Tim Gopeesingh and Kamla Persad-Bissessar had been part of the NAR in 1990 when a property tax law was implemented. He said the UNC Government never changed that. "I didn't see any crocodile tears or fuss about the tax then," Imbert noted.