Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2019. 5:00 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Legislation is currently being considered by the House of Representatives to provide for the partial discount on arrears of land tax and speculation tax, among other things. The bill, having been read a first time, is being considered by the Finance and Economic Development Committee at 2:00 pm on July 23rd at the National Assembly building in Belmopan.
The bill was introduced at the June sitting of the House of Representatives by Minister of Natural Resources, Hugo Patt. The bill proposes a six-month amnesty program on land tax, by waiving all interest owed to Government, and reducing the principal arrears by 25% for all landowners.
According to Minister Patt, the Ministry collected $48 million last year from stamp duties on private land transfers, purchase price payments, rent for sale and lease of national lands and taxes on private lands. However, the Ministry is still owed more than $95 million in land taxes over several years. Once the bill is passed, it is expected that Government will be rewarded with a windfall in land tax collections leading up to the end of 2019.
Minister Patt said an information campaign will be prepared when the bill passes. He also stressed that the Government is aiming to reduce the burden on landowners and citizens, but acknowledged that this is a temporary solution and that the Ministry is being reorganized to more properly collect debts owed.
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