Tax Relief

Authorities reveals tax breaks for companies and households

Given the significant difficulties that commercial and property owners are facing, an amendment to property tax was considered at this week’s session of Parliament.

The bill was one of the main topics of discussion and lawmakers were busy analyzing various relevant issues that were brought before the House.

Prime Minister Phillip Pierre first spoke on the land and house tax (amendment) as a crucial measure designed to help businesses and households cushion the negative economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With this bill, the land and house tax law is to be changed and a further tax exemption for home ownership as well as a partial exemption from property tax should be granted,” explained Pierre.

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He added, “The main rationale for the change is to provide extended tax breaks for residential property owners … and relief for commercial tenants.”

Under the Land and House Tax Act, homeowners have to pay an annual fee, the Prime Minister said. However, the previous administration proposed and granted a three-year exemption for the 2017 to 2019 calendar year.

“In addition to relieving these landowners and providing room to settle outstanding arrears for previous years, the exemption period should also include redesigning a broad-based property tax system for residential property in response to the results of a 2015 report,” said Pierre.

He said this change was “considered critical to getting this policy into effect in St. Lucia” and will apply for a period of five years from 2017 to 2021 to provide tax breaks to all property owners.

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Pierre noted that commercial activity was severely restricted due to Covid-19 as several companies were forced to shut down. In some cases, they had to reduce their operations in the April to June 2020 period “partly due to the various protocols required, followed by a very slow and protracted economic recovery”.

As a result, he said, many companies lost sales. The Prime Minister noted that for many micro and small businesses, commercial rent, wages and salaries are “a particularly large component of their spending”.

Pierre claimed, “In response to the acute negative effects of the pandemic, the government tried to incentivize landlords to offer their tenants moratoria and / or rent reductions to relieve their ailing businesses.”

He said this was a follow-up from the SLP government as part of the tax breaks proposed by the former government.

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However, Pierre argued that despite the delay in implementing this tax break, which was influenced by several factors, “the St.

“This intervention was designed to combat the negative effects of Covid-19 on property owners and thus also on their tenants.”

The Prime Minister said the government anticipates these measures “will bring some relief to businesses and households in St. Lucia as we continue to navigate the turbulent tide of the pandemic”.

Opposition member and Choiseul MP, Bradley Felix, recalled that it was in the foresight of the previous administration to “recognize the challenges facing the various trading houses … and to ensure that we are helping everyone, the government felt it was appropriate to find a way to to encourage trading houses to get at least some relief from the challenges they faced. “

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