Legal Action that may be taken against you for non-payment
There are currently a number of legislations which can be used to enforce compliance as it pertains to Property taxes. The primary ones are the Tax Collections Act; Quit Rents Act and the Property Tax Act. Presented in the following paragraphs are the relevant sections of the respective acts which will be used to address delinquent property tax owners or occupiers.
- The Collector of taxes may file a suit in the Revenue or the Resident Magistrate’s Court to recover property tax, penalty and interest on the amount owed and the costs of the court action. (Section 7 (4) Property Tax Act);
- Collector of Taxes may seize (distain) the goods and chattel or the personal property of person or persons liable for property taxes. (Section 8, Property Tax Act);
- Once an assessment has been made, the Tax Collector may also appoint a bailiff to seize the goods and chattels of the persons liable to pay the tax as well as any goods found on the land or premises for which property taxes are owed. (Section 28, Tax Collection Act).
- Money bonds, bills, notes or other securities for money may also be seized and then sold or disposed of. Note that the tax collector is empowered under the Tax Collection Act to assign and endorse security for money (Section 30 Tax Collection Act)
- The Attorney General may be instructed to pursue forfeiture proceedings where quit rents (property taxes) are in arrears and have not been paid for a period of five years. (Section 14, Property Tax Act, Section 6, Quit Rents Act)
- Property taxes can also be recovered and enforced against the occupier or tenant of the land as well as the owner or any other person interested in the land. In the case of the tenant, he or she may deduct the sum from the rent (Sections 37 and 26 Tax Collection Act).
- A caveat, which is a form of injunction that is provided for under the Registration of Titles Act may be may be lodged on the Certificate of Title. (Section 139, Registration of Titles Act) The effectiveness of this measure is that it prevents any dealings with the Title. For example, a transfer or mortgage will not be registered if there is a Caveat on the Title.
- The Collector of Taxes or their Assistants will notify the Accountant General of the name of every person in arrears for taxes (which include property tax) who receive a salary from the Government, or receive moneys from the public purse. The Accountant General is to retain the amount for the taxes and any surcharge on the amount. (Section 12, Tax Collection Act).
PROPERTY TAX RELIEF AND EXEMPTIONS
Under the Property Tax Act, relief may be granted by the Minister of Finance and Planning to property owners who may face difficulty in paying the new tax obligations. Relief is available, as follows:
Derating for Agricultural Properties - Where the land is used primarily for agriculture, property owners may be granted derating of up 50% of the Property Tax due for a period of up to three years. Application forms for relief are available at Parish Councils, KSAC, and Tax Officers in every parish. The Collector of Taxes will, on request, assist landowners in completing the form.
Statutory Relief - This is granted in individual cases of hardship, in particular, for the aged, the indigent, widows, widowers, pensioners and persons with fixed incomes, as well as persons with disabilities. Relief may also be granted in cases where the new tax liability far exceeds the pervious one and is deemed too high by the owner. In such cases, arrears and the provisional tax must be paid. Application forms for Special Discretionary Relief are available at your Local Authority/ Parish Council.
Under the Property Tax Act, Section 10, the following categories are granted exemption from the payment of property tax:
- Churches, burial ground and rectories
- Educational institutions
- Government-owned lands by Local Authorities
- Lands owned by the Council of Legal Education
LAWS RELATING TO PROPERTY TAX
- The Property Tax Act...
- Land Taxation (Relief) Act...
- The Land Valuation Act...