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How Much Is Property Tax In Jamaica?

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aerial_view_of_blue_hole_property_brighton_westmorelandHow Much Is Property Tax In Jamaica?

By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Are you thinking of purchasing property in Jamaica? That is a fantastic investment. However, you may look forward to something other than this one thing: Property tax.

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What is Property tax, and why do we have to pay it?

Like me, you probably wonder, if we have already purchased the land, why do we have to pay tax each year? Our government claims to impose property tax on all real estate to raise funds for public use. By paying property taxes, we contribute to funding significant property-related services meant to improve our Jamaican communities and districts. A few of these services include building parochial roads and highways, maintaining, repairing, and expanding streetlighting, law enforcement and fire safety, and rubbish collection and disposal.

Who has to pay property tax?

Now, who has to pay this tax? Property tax must be paid by all persons and other legal entities, such as businesses that own property (or real estate or land). In this context, it's crucial to remember that the "person in possession" might not always be the real estate owner. "Persons in possession of property" is defined as "the owner, occupier, mortgagee in possession, or other person in actual possession of such property" in the Property Tax Act. So, as long as you own or occupy the land, you must pay property tax.

Who can be exempt from this tax?

In some cases, depending on the purpose of the land, you may be exempt from paying property tax.

  1. All buildings and lands held in trust exclusively for public religious worship or for religious worship and use as classrooms, together with the lands immediately attached to them used as churchyards or burial grounds.
  2. All buildings and lands belonging to any church used as rectories, caretaker cottages or church halls together with the lands immediately attached to them so long as the area of the so exempt does not exceed one (1) acre.
  3. All buildings and lands are used solely for charitable or educational purposes and exclusively supported by charitable or missionary funds.
  4. All buildings and lands that belong to and are used by the University of the West Indies and the Council of Legal Education.
  5. All buildings and lands belonging to Primary Schools; Secondary Schools receiving any payment out of the Consolidated Fund; and Commercial Schools or Preparatory Schools with not less than twelve scholars in average attendance.
  6. All buildings and lands belonging to schools are approved by the Ministry of Education.
  7. All buildings and lands belonging to the Government of Jamaica.
  8. All buildings and lands belonging to private hospitals are approved by the Minister.
  9. All buildings and lands belonging to any social, charitable or cultural organization approved by the Minister.

When should you pay your property tax?

Throughout March, you will hear regular advertisements urging property owners to pay their taxes before April 1st. The Property Tax Act requires payment on the first day of April each year for 12 months, with options for full, half-yearly, or quarterly instalments. If the first payment is made after April 30, a 10% penalty and interest can be imposed. The tax becomes a first charge and lien on the property liable, and the Collector of Taxes can enforce payment, proceed against possession, or distrain the property's goods.

The Tax Collection Act allows the Collector to take various actions to recover unpaid Property Taxes, including issuing a summons for arrears in the Resident Magistrates Court, obtaining a judgment, lodgement of a caveat on the title, and forfeiture of the land. Non-paying taxpayers can also be imprisoned. The Act states that if a property has more than one person, the Collector of Taxes may enforce payment or distrain the property's goods.

How much is property tax in Jamaica?

Your land must first be assessed and evaluated to know how much you will be paying in property tax. The assessment and valuation are based solely on the unimproved value of the land, excluding improvements such as buildings and crops. It considers the land's type and size, potential for development, topography and soil classification, zoning, neighbourhood characteristics, and access to municipal and commercial services. The Ministry of Finance and Public Service announced that a flat rate of $1,000 is payable on real estate with an unimproved value of up to $400,000 and an additional fee based on the land's value falling in the progressive tax regime of 8 bands ranging from a low of 0.5% to a maximum of 1.30% of the value assessed. The computation of Property Tax is based on the land's unimproved value.

  • for the first $400,000.00 - $1,000.00
  • for the next $400,000.00 - 0.80%
  • for the next $700,000.00 - 0.85%
  • for the next $1,500,000.00 - 0.90%
  • for the next $1,500,000.00 - 1.05%
  • for the next $2,500,000.00 - 1.10%
  • for the next $5,000,000.00 - 1.15%
  • for the next $18,000,000.00 - 1.25%
  • for every dollar after that - 1.30%

Payment Options

You can make your property tax payments online via the Tax Portal, which allows you to use a debit or credit card. A reference number will be generated at the end of the transaction, which can be saved or printed for records. You can also make payments in person at any of the 29 tax offices across the island using cash, credit, or debit cards. Some offices have electronic drop boxes for cheque payments.

TAJ conducts "out-station" operations from April to June, particularly in rural areas. These operations only accept non-cash transactions, and a receipt will be given for all payments made.

There you have it, all you need to know about paying property tax in Jamaica. Don't let this sway your decision about investing in property in Jamaica though, as that is still a great investment.

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References & Sources For How Much Is Property Tax In Jamaica?

  1. Property Tax Info | National Land Agency | One Agency, One Goal. (n.d.).
  2. Hamilton, T. (2020, July 24). PROPERTY TAXES IN JAMAICA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - Law Office of Tracey A. Hamilton. Law Office of Tracey a. Hamilton.
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