Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 27th 2017 Contents BG4 | COVER STORY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt APRIL 27 • 2017
Citizens who do not meet the
May 22 deadline to file their
Valuation Return Forms could
end up paying a penalty. That
is because under the Valua-
tion of Land Act 18 of 1969,
owners of property who fail to file a return de-
scribing the property are liable on summary
conviction to a fine of $500.
As of now there is no word on whether the
Finance Minister Colm Imbert will extend the
deadline date for submission of forms.
While property owners are required to do
their own assessment of the value, the Valua-
tion of Land Act empowers the commissioner
of valuations to value properties based on an
annual rental value. The information is then
sent to the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR).
The BIR will issue a notice of assessment of
the tax to be paid, where the payment should
be made and the penalties which will incur if
the tax is not paid.
Owners who are not satisfied with the val-
uation of their property have a right to object
under the law. The act states that an owner or
local authority who is dissatisfied with a val-
uation may, within 30 days after service of the
notice of valuation, post to or lodge with the
commissioner an objection in writing against
Objections can be filed on the following
• Values assessed are too high or too low;
• Lands which should be included in one
valuation have been valued separately;
• Lands which should be valued separately
have been included in one valuation; or
• Person named in the notice is not the owner
of the land.
Asked whether all the documents listed
on the form must be submitted, an officer
of the Valuation Division explained that it is
necessary to submit a copy of the deed of the
property or any legal document which shows
you are the owner of the property, land and
building tax receipts (2009) and T&TEC and
WASA bills not older than three months and
any other supporting documents, including
a lease or rental agreement.
KPMG tax director Gillian Wolfe explained
that HDC homeowners are not exempt from
payment of property tax. She said: "They are
the owners of property and will be called upon
to pay it also." Those who have a deed for their
HDC property are required to pay the tax.
But HDC communications manager, Mau-
risa Findlay, said: “Given the current regime
for valuations and the required property tax
payments, the HDC is prepared to seek the
assistance of the Ministry of Finance to arrive
at a policy position to treat with the quantum
of funds the organisation will be required to
pay in property tax for homeowners in its
licence-to-occupy, rent-to-own and rental
Findlay said the HDC "will communicate
with these residents prior to the May 22 dead-
line on the way forward."
She said the managing director Brent Lyons
has held discussions with divisional heads and
the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
Housing to articulate the organisation's re-
Squatters, Wolfe said, will also have to pay
"The law does not exclude squatters. The
law talks about the occupier of property being
held liable for the tax," she said.
While pensioners are not exempt from pay-
ing property tax under the law, the act makes
provision for deferrals by the Board of Inland
Section 23 (1) of the act states: "The board
may upon the application of the owner of land
authorise the deferral of the payment of the
assessed tax on the land on the grounds of the
impoverished condition of the owner and his
inability to improve his financial position sig-
nificantly by reason of age, impaired health
or other special circumstances,that undue
hardship to that owner would otherwise ensue.
To qualify for deferral an application must
be made in writing on a form prescribed by the
BIR, with supporting evidence that the appli-
cant in receipt of a public assistance grant; a
disability grant; a senior citizen’s grant; or a
T&T conditional cash transfer card from the
Wolfe said in instances of deferral "the taxes
are deferred until you can do better. If it never
gets better, you will never be held liable but
whoever inherits the property will be called
upon to pay the taxes."
State can seize land
The law specifies that citizens have until
September 15 to pay the tax failing which they
will be penalised.
Section 34 (3) states that where "any amount
of tax is not paid on or before September 15 a
further sum of 10 per cent on the amount of tax
shall be added thereto by way of an increased
tax; and interest at the rate of 15 per cent per
annum on the amount of tax is to be applied to
the tax as increased from September 16 to the
date of payment, unless the board is satisfied
that the failure to pay the taxes did not result
from the default of the taxpayer."
Where arrears of annual tax payable on land
are outstanding for six months, a notice of de-
mand will be sent to the owner of the land by
If after 12 months the payment is not made,
the act makes provision under section 41 for
the levy "upon the goods, chattels, and effects
of the owner; or upon the goods, chattels and
effects, being upon the lands so charged with
such tax of the tenant or occupier of the lands
or any part thereof charged with such tax."
The act states that anyone authorised in
writing by the board, to execute any warrant
of distress, has the authority to "break open
any building in the daytime for the purpose
of levying such distress."
If the tax and arrears are unpaid for five years,
the owner is at risk of losing the property.
What you need to know
Continued on Page 5
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