JIS News

The Special Discretionary Relief Committees at all local authorities are still accepting applications from persons within specific groups, who are desirous of receiving property tax reprieve.

Established in fiscal year 2013/14, the committees were set up to consider applications from within their respective jurisdictions from the destitute, elderly, disabled and pensioners.

Responding to questions at Friday’s (Jan. 29) sitting of the Senate, Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, said no official cut off date has been established for applications during fiscal year 2015/16.

Therefore, persons can still apply to their local authorities for property tax relief.

“It is being contemplated that a cut off date of October 31 be introduced for fiscal year 2016/17,” she informed.

The questions were tabled by Opposition Senator Robert Montague.

Minister Falconer advised that application forms should be completed and submitted to the relevant local authority or at the property tax window at any of the local tax collectorates for submission to the local authority.

She informed that a total of 728 applications have been received by the Special Discretionary Relief Committees across the island.

A table providing a breakdown of the applications received indicate that 276 applications were recommended; 284 are still being processed; while 168 were denied.

For those applications that were turned down, this was based on investigations, which showed that the applicant or the immediate relatives have the ability to pay; and for properties that are vacant, commercial or agricultural.

Outstanding applications pertain to those awaiting information from the applicants, cases not yet investigated, or waiting for meetings to be held.

Senator Falconer informed that nine of the 14 Special Discretionary Relief Committees have had at least two meetings.

These are St. Thomas, St. Ann, Trelawny, St. James, Hanover, Manchester, Clarendon, Portmore and the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC).

“Two local authorities – St. Elizabeth and St. Catherine, have not advised of any meetings,” Minister Falconer informed.

Following an increase in property taxes in 2013, the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development was tasked to develop special committees at all parish councils to examine applications from persons seeking to take advantage of the special discretionary relief on property tax.