The Georgetown Mayor and City Council has announced an amnesty for taxpayers who have outstanding rates and taxes for the municipality and have failed to fulfil these obligations.
Mayor Ubraj Narine informed of this move at a press conference on Thursday. The Council would have met at an extraordinary statutory meeting on Thursday, where the Municipal Amnesty Policy was proposed. It was voted in favour by a majority, and the policy was passed.
Errant taxpayers have until March 31, 2022, to clear their debts to the Council and some will receive pardons on their liabilities.
“We had discussions with our Finance Committee on a way forward, how to help our citizens, especially the commercial sector in the city…The Municipal Amnesty Policy is to establish and maintain orderly procedure for ratepayers, who will receive pardons on a percentage of their tax liability and for the city to receive outstanding taxes in the form of an agreement that can benefit citizens, organisations and the Council,” Narine told the media during his briefing.
According to the Mayor, the intention is focused on improving revenue collection for the city. In recent years, billions have been owed by taxpayers and commercial businesses to the Council.
“This policy is geared to focus on the accrued interest and not the principal or demand of the tax account. The purpose of this policy is to benefit those who are outstanding tax defaulters for years and is intended to provide an avenue in keeping with the Municipal and District Councils Act 28:01 to improve collection of revenue through this scheme…and will assist the Treasury Department to boost tax revenues and reduce administrative costs for pursing tax cases through the courts.”
It was noted that the Council’s staffers are under the guidance of clear instructions when responding and handling amnesty cases in ensuring transparency. Any person, corporation, trust or other stakeholder that is required to pay their rates in the city are eligible to apply for amnesty during this period.
Mayor Narine notified, “It outlines clearly that the applicant must be the property owner, a duly authorised attorney of the property owner; other duly-authorised legal persons or representative of the property owner.”
An applicant will have to submit along with the application form, certified application of transport, title, lease, letter of administration; a printout of arrears statement; copy of official form of identification; updated rate evaluation as may be required among other documents.
A Special Circumstances Committee was created and shall decide the exemption rate. The Council is also equipped to offer a payment plan should the subject be unable to pay the arrears due in full.
“No account should receive 100 per cent exemption without the approval of the Council. Minutes and reports of the Special Circumstances Committee shall be recorded and compiled and submitted for perusal at the committee, prior to onward dispatch by monthly to the full Council until this policy expires,” he clarified.
City Hall also announced on Friday that all municipal markets would be open for late shopping during the holiday season. From December 10 to December 16, all markets will be open from 07:00h to 17:00h.
From December 17 to December 23, this timing will extend from 07:00h to 18:00h. Then on December 24, shopping time will be from 07:00h to 20:00h.
This is to facilitate any shopping activities which persons are likely to do in preparation for Christmas. (G12)