By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
The Government will roll-out its Over-the-Hill revitalisation 'tax breaks' in the upcoming 2018-2019 Budget, with the targeted area currently generating $6.2 million in annual property taxes.
Dr Nicola Virgill-Rolle, head of the Government's economic planning unit, said it had committed at least $5 million annually to the initiative. "At least $5 million has been the commitment from the Government," she added, "but it's beyond $5 million because we also work with the ministries and the various agencies of government and also PPPs, in order to bring about the funding for projects. We are working to make sure that as much as possible we utilise those funds very carefully."
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis last week tabled the long-awaited Over-the-Hill 'White Paper' 2018, unveiling his administration's proposed plans for impoverished communities, which include a variety of tax concession and a plan for physical rejuvenation, along with social and economic empowerment.
Dr Virgill-Rolle said the tax breaks will be revealed in the upcoming Budget, and will take effect on July 1. The government collected $6 million in real property tax revenue in 2017, though it will not necessarily forego that amount as it includes businesses with a $5million-plus annual turnover, who will not be exempt from taxes under the initiative.
"This is more than just the taxes; it's the impact of the social programme and other programmes. Tax is just one part, and a very important part," Dr Virgill-Rolle said. The Over-the-Hill project will focus on Bain and Grants Town, and parts of Centreville.
Dr Minnis revealed last week that incentives outlined under the initiative will apply to residential properties - both owned and rented, commercial and industrial undertakings, with an aggregate turnover of $5m or under, and all enterprises whose primary income is not derived from the business of gaming or the sale of alcohol.
"For those qualified residents and business owners, with respect to the redevelopment of land and buildings it is proposed (that there will be) exemption from real property taxes, exemptions from Customs duties related to construction, equipping and completing building and structures for a specified period and exemptions from excise taxes," Dr Minnis said.
There will also be exemptions from Stamp Tax imposed on real property. Dr Minnis added when it came to business taxes, all those companies - with the exception of establishments engaging in restricted activity - and upon obtaining a Trade Certificate proving location in the empowerment zone, will receive a 100 per cent waiver on Business Licences. Customs duties for the purchase of a vehicle, with appropriate markings for use by the business, will also be waived.