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Rental tax ‘under consideration’

Taking feedback: Minister of Finance Curtis Dickinson (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Curtis Dickinson, the Minister of Finance, said tax increases included in the Pre-Budget Report were being considered, but were not guaranteed.

However, he told an audience at a public meeting last night that if taxes on commercial and residential rents were introduced, the threshold would be higher than the figure floated in the report.

The report proposed that the tax would not affect properties with an annual rental value of less than $22,000.

Mr Dickinson said: “The rental tax is still under consideration. The Tax Reform Committee suggested $22,000. It will be over $22,000.”

He later said the threshold would be more than $22,800, but emphasised that a final decision about the tax had not been made.

Mr Dickinson said: “We presented the idea to get your feedback. I have not decided on whether to implement the rent tax or at what the threshold rent tax will apply.

“My decisions will be informed by the input I get from you and other stakeholders.”

The minister also said the Government’s system of collecting taxes owed was “antiquated”, but the ministry would continue to look at ways to address the issue.

Mr Dickinson said: “Collection and enforcement are a priority of this government and we accept that we need to do a better job of it.

“We have hired more resources to help us tackle this issue and we are going to stay consistent on it until we collect as much of the past-due taxes as possible.”

About 1,000 people filled the Goodwin C. Smith Hall at the Heritage Worship Centre in Hamilton last night for the meeting, intended to receive feedback on the Pre-Budget Report.