Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 26th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt April 26 - 2017
Tobagonians say Property Tax 'unfair'
Tobagonians are speaking out against the
government's implementation of property
taxes calling the government's latest reve-
nue collection initiative "oppressive",
"unclear" and "out of touch with the real-
ity faced by Tobagonians."
Property tax is governed by the Property
Tax Act which replaced the Lands and Build-
ing Taxes Act of 1920. Based on the Act,
taxes are applied depending on the kind of
property --agricultural, commercial, indus-
trial and residential. Each type of property
attracts a rate of 1 to 5 per cent of its value.
Noreen Eastman - Louis D'or said she
cannot see the taxes being implemented in
many cases in Tobago.
"By now it's known that proper deed titling
is a problem in Tobago. In my case, my fam-
ily and I share property handed down by my
She said the family has two acres which
five families share. "So who really supposed
claim ownership? So what then if everybody
She spoke about another aspect of the
property tax which she feels needs adjust-
"The saying bring in the plans for the
structure. The reality of the matter is that
none of our homes was built using any plan...
and that is the case with most houses in
Ms Eastman said with the deadline less
than a month away she does not know how
to move forward.
Another Tobagonian, Devon Williams, who
owns a twelve-bedroom guesthouse in Sig-
nal Hill, said: "The government is punishing
persons for being ambitious."
"On one hand the government is saying
we can't hire everyone so look towards entre-
preneurship and when we do that there is a
sting in the tail." He pointed to the low
occupancy rate of guest houses in Tobago
to indicate that paying property taxes will
be difficult for many guest house owners.
"Easter is usually one of the busiest periods
for us as accommodation providers but this
year occupancy has been very low."
He noted that the low rate, over this peri-
od, may have been due to problems with
"The bottom line is that we had a lot of
empty beds now you are coming to add an
He said many people fail to take into
account that "stakeholders in Tobago's tour-
ism sector already face exorbitant operation-
Williams added: "They promised a desali-
nation plant like that went out the window
but we still can't get water. We have to pay
for electricity to have water pumps running
all day and still pay for dry taps."
He also said the government should have
taken more time to look at the various sce-
narios before giving everyone the same level
"In my case, I live on the same property
where my business is am I considered res-
idential or commercial."
"Who are these evaluators? When they
arrive are the supposed to come inside or
just walk around the property and make a
guess, these are things we need to be
Bon Accord resident, Rose- Marie Gordon,
shared similar sentiments like Williams. She
said the property tax "was not carefully
thought out" and questioned the use of the
"I have no problem with paying for prop-
erty tax. I understand that the government
must raise money but I want to know what
this additional money is going to be used
f o r ."Stating that she preferred the direct tax-
ation system, which is administered in devel-
oped countries, she said that tax indicated
the purpose for the additional expenditure.
"When I pay a particular amount of taxes
abroad it goes to health education or what-
ever they say it is for."
She said the government should have taken
the necessary time to develop the measure
instead of "shoving it down the throats of
She added: "To paint everybody with the
same big broad-brush whether we can afford
it or not makes no sense as I live in the
same size house like my neighbours but they
are retired and their children are grown. "I
have children going to university and high
school so how can we pay the same tax."
She said there should be some sort of
evaluation to determine people's ability to
afford the new taxation measure.
A file photograph of a HDC settlement.
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