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Stuart: Tax cuts for home buyers

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New tax concessions will make Barbados’ home acquisition programme a lot more friendly.Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made this prediction yesterday in the House of Assembly, where bills to amend the Income Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) acts were debated and passed.Stuart called the bills a “giant step forward” towards meeting the Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) 2008 election manifesto commitments.“The Government is pleased that . . . these facilities should make a further dent in the access of people to property at prices or a cost that they can manage,” he said.“We believe that these measures will make the market for home acquisition and for home ownership much more friendly than has been the case up to now . . .”First-time homeowners will soon be able to claim up to $14 000 as a rebate on building materials. Members of Parliament voted yesterday to remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) from building materials on houses valued up to $400 000.A secondary effect of the amendment would be to provide a tax exemption in respect of locally produced items of art and craft sold at the Grantley Adams International Airport or the Bridgetown Port.The income tax amendment provides that with effect from income year 2010 “the tax payable by persons engaged in the construction of houses for sale at a price not exceeding $400 000 each inclusive of land is 15 per cent of every complete dollar of taxable income directly relating to the construction and sale of those houses”.Stuart said the tax concessions came at a time when the “spiralling” cost of land and building materials was making getting a home more difficult.MP for St Lucy, Denis Kellman, welcomed the amendments, saying they amounted to “progressive legislation”.Concessions to handicraft makers will help them to compete with places such as China, where low-cost souvenir items are made, he told parliamentarians.He said he supported the VAT as a good system of taxation and warned Government against implementing “outdated” tax programmes. (TY)