Realtor backs Stamp tax rate reduction

BAHAMIAN realtor Mario Carey has applauded the Government's plans to roll back the one-time Stamp Duty on residential property transactions from 12 per cent to 10 per cent. Mr Carey cited the 12 per centStamp tax as a deterrent to buying, saying lower taxes not only boost real estate but spur economic activit0y, because homeownership generates ongoing expenditure. He is also asking the Government to consider extending the reversal of the 2 per cent stamp tax increase to all property transactions. Mr Carey said: "It's great that government has announced its intentions to roll back the Stamp tax on high-end properties from 12 per cent to 10 per cent. "That move will make the Bahamas more competitive in the luxury market, which is important, but I encourage government to go further and reduce all Stamp tax on residential transactions by 2 per cent to give middle income families the same advantage and incentive as high-end purchasers." The Stamp tax - a sliding scale recording fee starting at 6 per cent paid at time of purchase - started at 4 per cent before the increase. Mr Carey suggested a sliding scale roll back to that percentage. He also believes that constant changes to taxes related to commercial and residential property sales and ownership has stirred up more confusion than comfort, and left many in the market wondering whether purchasing land, homes or businesses in the Bahamas was opening them up to unknown fees and taxes ahead. Mr Carey said: "The opportunity is ripe for the Government to be decisive, aggressive and demonstrate its commitment to make economic growth a top priority so everyone at every level of the financial spectrum benefits." Mr Carey called for the creation of a Bahamas real estate advisory group (BRAG), made up of economists, real estate professionals, legal experts and visiting or rotating international advisors, an organisation he suggests that would have high-level round table discussions on the current economic crisis with a focus on the real estate sector. Mr Carey said: "There are so many opportunities using a variety of economic policies and tools that can be used immediately, and planned for future generations of owners, and I don't think we have begun to explore many of those within our reach. "But affordable Stamp tax, building materials duties and property taxes would open up a world that is just out there waiting to be tapped into and developed in a way that is friendly to the environment, helpful to the economy and beneficial to the social well-being of a community."


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