Idle Land Tax Aims to Rekindle Agriculture Sector

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 8:42 PM - George's, Grenada
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ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, April 1, 2014: The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) says a demand notice to property owners regarding a 0.2% payment on idle agriculture land was sent in error.

Comptroller of the IRD, Raphael Stephens, made the announcement during a post cabinet briefing on Tuesday.

Agriculture Minister Roland Bhola also apologized to land owners who received 15,000 demand notices.

“Maybe because of the financial situation and the exuberance of the personnel within the Inland Revenue Division (IRD), they were prepared to move forward and say let’s get going and raise some revenue – so some demand notices went out,” Bhola said during Tuesday’s post cabinet news conference.

“Yes, some notices should have gone out but not demand notices.”

The land tax is a new measure primarily aimed at boosting agriculture production in the country.

The Agriculture Minister has stressed that the main purpose of the tax is not to generate revenue but to stimulate the sector.

“What needed to happen is that Inland Revenue needed to send notices out to all and sundry, whether your land is cultivated or not, letting all land owners know that a team is being set up and will be looking at your lands,” Bhola said.

“So those are the notices that should have gone out. Unfortunatly what we got were demand notices where people were told come in and pay if your land is idle. The actual collection of the 0.2 percent should begin next year and not this year.”

Minister Bhola gave landowners the assurance that they, and the country, would benefit from the effects of an Idle Land Tax.

“I want to make it absolutely clear that the measure was never meant to be a revenue enhancement measure from taxation,” he said.

“In effect, what we were saying is that, you would be at a disadvantage if you are the owner of good agriculture land and you did not put it into full production.”




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