TAJ wants Cornwall Courts residents to settle $40m in property taxes

Saturday, November 17, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The Montego Bay Tax Administration Department has disclosed that residents of the Cornwall Courts Housing Scheme in the city owe a hefty sum of roughly $40 million in property taxes.

Cornwall Courts is said to be the second-largest National Housing Trust-developed scheme in Jamaica, after Portmore in St Catherine.

According to regional manager of Property Tax Compliance, Wendye Peterkin, despite numerous attempts to reach out to residents of the community, 1,976 of the more than 2,500 properties are still behind in payments.

“We have staged numerous property tax outstations in the community, but unfortunately, not many residents have taken advantage of the opportunity. We want to highlight the fact that non-compliance hinders the Government's ability to serve communities effectively, as property taxes receipts pay for garbage collection, street lights, parochial road rehabilitation, and beautification of communities,” Peterkin noted.

In a release from the St James Municipal Corporation, Peterkin stated that of the five most delinquent communities within the parish, Cornwall Courts is the least compliant with regards to property tax payments.

She revealed that on Monday, based on ongoing efforts to maximise the collection of property taxes, the Local Government Tax Unit, under the management of the St James Municipal Corporation and the Tax Administration of Jamaica, will be visiting the community to encourage residents to make payments.

Peterkin argued that the amount owed by Cornwall Courts residents is excessive, and almost equals the combined $43.37 million owed by the Bogue Village, Bogue Heights, Westgreen, and Catherine Hall communities.

The parish of St James accounts for almost 56,000 parcels of land that are on the property tax register.

The St James Municipal Corporation release underlined that homeowners, occupants and tenants are liable for the payment of property tax. Penalties and interest are applied to outstanding sums and delinquent owners can be taken to court and properties may be seized for non-compliance.

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