The government is seeking to clarify what it is now describing as a misconception in relation to property taxes when it comes to second home ownership.
The move comes after homeowners in Lyford Cay gave the government an ultimatum to change the policy, or they would leave the country taking with them their businesses, jobs for locals and overall strong contributions to the country’s economy.
Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest spoke to Eyewitness News and revealed that the government now intends to revert to the previous definition of owner-occupied properties in the Real Property Tax Act.
He indicated that the change is not a direct response to the second homeowners nor is the government yielding to its wishes as some have suggested.
He did, however, underscore the importance the sector plays in the economy and addressed concern about the poor being heavily taxed, but the wealthy seemingly given a tax break.
The finance minister said this is not the case.
The increase would be on foreign-owned developed land in The Bahamas to discourage land speculation and encourage development and revenue from homes used for commercial properties, and by imposing a value-added-tax (VAT) on vacation home rentals.
The government, he said, plans to make the amendment to the legalisation, just passed in the budget, when Parliament resumes in September.