House approves Land Tax change
Legislation which could see the Government raising an additional $12.6 million in taxes was passed on Monday.
The Land Tax Amendment Act 2019, if passed by the Senate, will come into effect on July 1, 2019. This new legislation will see properties charged taxes based on the annual rental value.
Properties are classified into seven groups, called bands, and taxed accordingly.
All properties will be charged a base rate of $300.
Units that are private dwellings with a valuation of over $22,000 will pay the base rate of $300 in addition to the yearly percentage tax for the band of property.
All properties under $22,000 will pay only the base rate of $300.
Wayne Furbert, the Junior Minister of Finance, said Bermudians who are 65 years and older who own and occupy a private dwelling are exempted from tax on the first $45,400 of the annual rental value. He added: “The reality is to maintain Government service at a reasonable level and to avoid financial failure, the Government needs to increase revenue.”
The new legislation also included increased tax on commercial properties from 7 to 9.5 per cent and on tourist properties from 7 per cent to 8 per cent.
Mr Furbert said: “The primary purpose of this Bill is to amend the land tax rates to ensure additional revenue to the Government so that Government can continue to do the work that the people elected us to do.”
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the shadow health minister, said although it was the Government’s responsibility to provide services, it was also duty-bound to cut costs.
She added that cuts in spending could be made without putting people out of jobs.
Ms Gordon-Pamplin warned that the cost increase on commercial owners could be passed on to tenants and the public.
She added that some of the increased taxes and fees appeared small, but it all added up and could put extra pressure on struggling Bermudians.
The Dental Practitioners Amendment Act 2019 was also passed on Monday.
The Dental Practitioners Amendment Bill will require dentists to have indemnity insurance in order to register as a dental practitioner.
It will also give the Bermuda Dental Board power to impose additional registration requirements for some procedures when it thought it was needed to protect the health of patients.
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