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Dec 22, 2004

Improvements coming to land tax system

Land: it’s a source of both great wealth and serious aggravation for many Belizeans. Today Cabinet took steps to deal with at least some of the problems surrounding land, namely taxes. In a press release that could only be described as cryptic, we are told that Cabinet considered proposals from the Ministry of Natural Resources to make land taxes “more collectible”. Apparently, recently enacted regulations to place heavy taxes on large tracts of undeveloped land have been met with across the board non-compliance, as have efforts to tax all land within a half mile of the coast at a uniform one hundred dollars per acre–whether the land in question is impenetrable swamp in Toledo or millionaire’s row in San Pedro. The new proposals, although not described in any detail, appear to reflect a move in the direction of common sense, in which the rate of taxation will have some relation to actual market value. At the same time, the ministry will also be talking to the Association of Village Councils with an eye to determining a tax rate for village lots, with the funds collected flowing back to the village councils.


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