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Dec 11, 2009

Municipal discounts/trade-offs to business now legitimate

Story PictureThere are discussions on the implementation of a garbage tax for Belize City residents. And while residents might soon feel an additional financial pinch, a bill was introduced today that would offer tax discounts to businesses throughout the country. At his quarterly press conference on October twenty-ninth, Prime Minister Dean Barrow indicated he was in favor of the Belize City Council’s program of offering discounts and trade offs in lieu of property taxes. At the time the council was under fire because their Governing Act did not include discounts for businesses. Today in the capital, Gabriel Martinez, the Minister of Local Government, introduced the amendment that would formalize the trade-offs and discounts in the Town’s Property Evaluation Act.

Gabriel Martinez, Minister of Local Government
“There is no regime governing the considerations under which the discounts are granted. In this light we are today proposing amendment to the Town’s Property Evaluation Act in order to introduce a mechanism governing the granting of discounts in respect of property taxes and arrears on taxes. Mr. Speaker, this bill, therefore, seeks to provide for the development of an incentive program suited for the purpose of offering discounts on property taxes and arrears on such taxes. The bill provides that where a municipal authority considers it expedient to offer a discount on property taxes and arrears on taxes, it can propose an incentive program for the specific purpose and submit that program to the Minister Responsible for Local Government for approval. Mr. Speaker, the incentive programs which can be developed are limited to discounts to senior citizens, discounts for early payment of taxes and discounts for payment of arrears. An incentive program will therefore be limited to those three categories and discounts will not be granted on an individual basis. The bill proposes to punish a convicted offender with a fine of one thousand dollars or imprisonment of eight months or to both fine and imprisonment. Notwithstanding the penalty, a convicted offender will be liable to pay to the respective authority, the amount of money being the revenue lost as a consequence of a violation of the law.”

The final clause proposes an amendment that when taxes are due in any year over an amount of one hundred dollars, the delinquent taxpayer must pay the balance owed in four equal installments.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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