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Grounds Invalidating The Current Property Tax Legislation
Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017

By Stephen Kangal
April 25, 2017

Taking into account that the former late PM Manning's 2009 Cabinet had a clear unwavering philosophy and intention that both Acts No 17 and 18 relating to the Property Tax, hurriedly passed without due consultations and proclaimed by 31st December 2009 would be strictly and rigidly implemented at the beginning of 2010, their non-implementation and associated factors have indeed now rendered the tax regime invalid, null and void and in need of re-submission to Parliament for the requisite amendments to be effected to remove the time-lines rigidities.

With an eye on brevity these are the brief listing of the grounds:
  • Both Acts are dated for implementation beginning 1 January 2010, have lapsed and consequently lost their internal coherence, chronology and sequence of events by 2017 militating against legal and proper enforcement and in need of urgent judicial review;

  • Previous property tax legislation have been prematurely repealed establishing a legal vacuum or lacuna without any Assessment Rolls being compiled by the Commissioner of Valuation that is conditional for effective start up;

  • The May 22nd deadline for owners of land to submit returns proclaimed by The Minister of Finance is a figment and fig-leaf of his imagination without legal basis;

  • Act No 18 is a violation of Sections 5 and 6 of the Constitution without being passed with the requisite Constitutional majority;

  • It is also an infringement of the Constitutional rights to property ownership/possession and not to be deprived thereof except by due process as well as the right to privacy;

  • Even if it complied with Sections 5 and 6 above, The Property Tax Act No 18 of 31st December 2009 is so draconian, oppressive, disruptive, denial of legitimate expectations, unilateral and an unprecedented quantum and astronomical percentage deviation from the prevailing tax norm that it fails and would fail the test of proportionality in a democratic T&T;

  • The prevailing, adverse, regressive and plummeting socio-economic ecology will reinforce the applicability of the above-mentioned proportionality factor that can be upheld in and by a Court of competent jurisdiction.

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