Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2019. 11:05 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Ministry of Natural Resources has agreed on an extension of the land tax amnesty approved in the House of Representatives at its last meeting in October.
At the start of this morning’s meeting, Minister Hugo Patt laid Sessional Paper No. HR223/1/12, the Land Tax (Partial Remission of Arrears) (Extension of Duration) Order, 2019 before the House and the Speaker, Laura Longsworth, ordered it to lie on the table.
Normally papers are not questioned, but Leader of the Opposition John Briceño rose to ask a few questions: 1) the need for the extension; 2) how much has been collected; and 3) will new bills in April include the arrears. Minister Patt clarified that the program was to have started in June and ended in November, but because of the late passing of the legislation, the program actually started shortly after the approval of the act in October.
The extension is for six months retroactive to November 1, and ends at the end of the fiscal year in March. According to Minister Patt, the collection has been slow – he was unable to provide any figures – but he committed to moving with legislation on the handling of land taxes. And with regard to larger landowners, against which there has been complaints that they have unfairly benefited from repayment of arrears, he committed to negotiation and, if necessary, court action that would result in seizing of land to pay for taxes owed.
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