PARISH councils which meet their respective property tax collection targets are to be awarded cash prizes by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development for community projects.
Senior director of the ministry's Revenue Enhancement and Resource Mobilisation Division, Calvert Thomas, in making the announcement Thursday, said the competition will be run over the 2013-14 fiscal period, ending next March.
He said $5 million will be given to a community project of choice to the top performer, $3 million to the second place winner and $2 million to the most improved council as the award for third place.
The collection of $7.3 billion, set for the fiscal year, is to be realised in December 2013, with the competition as incentive for the councils in pursuit of their respective targets.
The awards are to be made immediately after the end of the financial year, said Thomas, adding that councils would be having dialogue with their stakeholders in selection of projects.
Property tax, collected in conjunction with the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ), presents particular challenges to each parish and the easy access to tax collectorates by the public remains an ongoing concern.
TAJ, as part of plans to address this concern, is to increase its collection drive in the given parishes, with Saturday opening planned for some areas.
Community fairs are also being planned with certain public and private sector partners, including the
Land Administration and Management Programme, the National Land Agency, the National Housing Trust, St Elizabeth Parish Council, HD Hopwood and the Registrar General's Department, which the councils hope will encourage citizens to pay their property taxes.
Citizens have, in the meantime, been asked to pay their property taxes to avoid penalties and court action, which could result in property seizure.