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Homeowners to pay tax on dog kennels, gazebo, prayer rooms

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

If you have a dog kennel, gazebo, tool shed or prayer room on your premises a value will be applied to these structures to determine the total rental value of your property when the property tax goes into effect.

As Parliament sat to consider amendments from the Senate to the Property Tax Amendment Bill, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar raised questions about Section 3A, which states where a building occupies separately from other buildings, a location on a single parcel of land, the building shall for the purposes of liability to tax under this Act, be deemed to be land.

“My question is, if you have a dog house on your premises, if you have a duck pond, as I do. If you have fowl coop. A tool shed and for those who have swimming pools, I do not have one. If you have little cabanas…change places and so on. Will each of those items be taxed based on this 3A now?” she queried.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert clarified, however, that each of those values will not be taxed separately, but will be considered in the overall rental of the property.

“When you get your valuation is the valuation of your property. So you have a piece of land on which there are separate buildings. So you would be liable to pay tax on the entire property. But each building would be valued separately. Is not that each building would attract a value of $18,000,” Imbert explained.

“It’s not that you have a fowl coop here, a duck pond there, a dog kennel there, a cabana there, a gazebo over so and each one would be $18,000. No!”

He said the value of each one would be determined separately and when added together, “if it is less than $18,000 it would be set at $18,000. It’s not that each one will attract a value of $18,000.”

In the bill, $18,000 is the minimum rental value of a property which attracts a monthly tax of about $40 a month.

This would mean that any home owner whose property attracts a rental value of less than $18,000 will be rounded off to the minimum ceiling of $18,000.

But Persad-Bissessar felt the inclusion of these separate structures could affect the most vulnerable, while she pointed out that a lot of people owned dog kennels and animal pens around their residential land.

“Everybody…regardless what it is on your property you are going to be valued as $18,000? So just a concern. You have cleared it, I would have to pay tax for the dog house. That is basically what it is.”

Imbert again clarified by saying that raw land has a value.

“On this raw land you would have structures. So the value of the property is the value of the raw land plus the value of the structures. So even the examples given by the Opposition Leader…even though these items may not have significant value this works out to $40 a month. So it is the value of the raw land plus the value of all the structures on the land.”

After a valuation is done, Imbert said, if the land plus the structure come up to less than $18,000, an $18,000 valuation will be put on the property.

If someone is faced with financial constraints and unable to pay the $40 a month, then the law would kick in, where they can apply for a tax exemption.


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