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Long lines continue at valuation offices
Although property owners have been granted an additional two weeks to submit their valuation return forms, the long queues and heavy traffic continued outside the San Fernando office yesterday.
Up to 9 am, traffic backed up along Pointe-a-Pierre Road from the valuation office at Palm’s Club to Vistabella. While property owners struggled to find parking, taxi drivers lined up to drop off passengers who came with their valuation forms.
By midday the traffic congestion improved but there were still long lines of people waiting for their receipts at the valuation office.
Among them was Hamilton Ramoutar of Williamsville. Hamilton said he waited for 75 minutes for his form to be processed.
Although he knew about the extension, Hamilton said he just wanted to get the submission done so he could have peace of mind. He said while he understood the process being undertaken, some of the older people were still confused.
Dudley Romaine said he travelled from California and waited for 90 minutes before he received his receipts. He said he had to submit his valuation form yesterday because it was his only day off.
However, pensioners were spared the hustle as they were placed in a separate line. Henrietta Hussey-Charles, 70, of Port-of-Spain, said she had always planned to visit the valuation office yesterday so she went ahead.
“I spent less than 10 minutes in there so the process was smooth. I knew about the extension, but I had already planned to come here today and I went ahead,” Hussey-Charles said.
Other pensioners said they were unaware of the extension.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said he would recommend to Cabinet that the deadline be shifted from May 22 to June 5.
His recommendation to extend the deadline by two weeks was accepted by Cabinet at yesterday’s meeting, which was chaired by Imbert in the absence of Prime Minister Keith Rowley.
The extension of the deadline represents a change of heart for the minister of finance who, as recently as his May 10 mid-year budget review, said that the government did not intend to extend the deadline “since it is necessary to get on with the job of assessing the rental values and determining the applicable property taxes, so that tax collection can commence.”