April 15, 2008
“The business of Government is not just about revenue and the collection of taxes, but it is about development of the country. Our government is just 25 years old this year and Nevis is fairly young. We are in a position to be called a developing country, a country which needs investment, infrastructure and development of services,” said Premier and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Joseph Parry.
The Premier was at the time speaking at a Town Hall meeting at the Nevis Cultural Centre on Monday, April 7th, 2008.The meeting was held by the Nevis Island Administration in collaboration with the Nevis Island Revenue Service to discuss the Property Tax Bill, 2007 as part of the Governments policy of inclusion and transparency.
This tax seeks to modernize the property tax law of Nevis, by introducing the market value as the valuation standard for most properties in Nevis.
The first reading of this Bill took place in November 2007, in the Nevis Island Assembly Chambers at Hamilton House in Charlestown. The Town Hall meeting was held before the second reading to get opinions, questions and feedback from the general public before the second reading of the said bill.
The Nevis Island Administration believes that this will result in greater tax equity and it will also facilitate the computerization of property valuation and taxation in Nevis.
The legislation will provide for a separate taxation for land and building. For example, when improvements are made for a fence, pool etc, that will be considered and assessments will be made on that.
“The Government in Nevis has needs to develop roads, ports, electricity, telephone and the water system. There is also a great need to expand these services and in some cases subsidise the services. NEVLEC (the islands present electricity system) and the water service are presently subsidised by government to ease the financial burden to the consumer”
The Premier went on to say: “Education is free on the island of Nevis and Social Services are provided to people in many areas at minimal costs or no cost at all. In some instances we have given grants to people and all these efforts must be paid by taxes.”
In 2005, when the budget was presented by the previous administration it was indicated that the tax would be changed from rental value to market value in 2006. It never materialised, but now in 2008, The Nevis Reformation Party (NRP) led Nevis Island Administration has put together a tax package that will include; a tax exemption of property’s that are valued at less than $80,000, property’s that are valued between $80,000 and $300,000 will not be paying any more taxes than they have been accustomed to be paying, but as the value of their property goes up the tax amount they pay will go accordingly.
There were many persons in Nevis who were exempted in the past. All property owners on the island of Nevis will now have to pay property taxes as required and this will include villa owners on the island.
“We are seeking to ensure that all persons who own properties in Nevis, who might have been exempted in the past be included now and that will include the properties at the Four Seasons Resort. The Nevis Island Administration has informed the villa owners of the tax situation and we will be making final arrangements.”
At the panel discussion which included Legal Adviser to the Nevis Island Administration, Hon Patrice Nisbett, Permanent Secretary in Finance, Mr Laurie Lawrence, Director of Inland Revenue, Ms. Neva Manners, who chaired the event and Inland Revenue Officer, Mr. Brian Gillfillan, Premier Parry stated that persons living in Nevis would like to feel safe and keep crime low, have nice roads and have fire services available in case of a fire. He went on to say that all these services come at a cost and the poor cannot be expected to pay the costs. “Those who can afford to pay should not be exempted,” says Premier Parry.