Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Letter of the Day | Land Tax Relief Board is in place

Published:Monday | April 16, 2018 | 12:05 AM

 

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In response to the Gleaner editorial published Thursday, April 12, 2018, titled 'Shaw must ensure relief for farmlands', it inaccurately stated that "the review and advisory board has not operated for more than a year ..." and that ... "a new Land Tax Relief Board be urgently appointed".

Please be advised that the Land Taxation Relief Board has been in place since January 2, 2018, and was appointed by Audley Shaw while he was minister of finance and the public service. The six-member board, which is chaired by Clive Nicholas, has since convened three meetings: February 20, March 6, and April 10. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 3.

The board has dealt expeditiously with the cases presented during each meeting. To date, the board has dispensed with a total of 203 cases, of which 142 were approved, 53 refused and seven deferred. Agricultural de-rating cases comprise the majority of the cases dealt with so far. In addition to agricultural de-rating in respect of farmlands, persons may also apply to the Board for Statutory Relief, where the potential use of the land differs from its current use.

The Government has in place mechanisms by which persons may seek relief from property tax where special circumstances apply, namely, agricultural de-rating, statutory relief, and special discretionary relief. The relevant forms are available on the TAJ website at www.jamaicatax.gov.jm.

Agricultural de-rating may be granted for a period of up to three years for land used primarily for agriculture. These applications should be sent to the secretary, Land Taxation Relief Board, c/o 1-3 King Street, Kingston.

Statutory relief may be granted in cases where the valuation, based on the potential use of the land, is higher than the current use. For example, many persons own property and live in an area that was originally classified as residential but has now become commercial. In such a case, the valuation will reflect the potential of the highest and best use of the land for offices or shops.

Special discretionary relief, for example, for pensioners and persons with disabilities, may be granted by the minister of finance in cases of hardship.

MERIS HAUGHTON

Chief Corporate Communications Officer

Tax Administration Jamaica