Official Statement from Minister of Finance : No Tax Decrease Given by Government

Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Despite the unfortunate headlines and misleading commentary in respect to my statement circulated to the media yesterday, it is important that I provide absolute clarity on the matter. The Government of The Bahamas made no undertaking to reduce any tax rate for any individual or any group with the announced decision to revert to the previous definition of owner-occupied properties.  For real property tax, the government undertook to increase the top end rate for undeveloped land owned by foreigners. This is what was announced in the budget communication. This is what will remain.   What the government is undertaking to change is the amendment that quantified the time frame
for owner-occupied property.  This is being done simply because that amendment had the unintended impact of bringing legitimate and non-commercial home ownership under the commercial property tax rate.  And that was not the policy intent.

In none of the budget speeches or other communication is there any reference to increasing the real property tax on second homeowners, nor on any other developed property. And no such tax increase was intended nor reflected in the budget estimates approved by Parliament.  As such, the correction in the language in respect to the amendment passed with the budget bills will have no effect on the projected tax income for the country.

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