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Dr. Friday – Proposal to abolish ‘Deeds of Gift’ will create hardship

Dr. Friday – Proposal to abolish ‘Deeds of Gift’ will create hardship


Member of Parliament for the Northern Grenadines Dr. Godwin Friday is of the view that the proposal to remove the exemption from stamp duties for “deeds of gift” will create a lot of hardship for people.{{more}}

Friday expressed this view in his budget response on Tuesday, January 25.

Giving an example of the challenges which will be caused by the abolition, Friday said: “You have a situation in which a young man buys a piece of land. He goes out, he works. He starts his house, which is part of our tradition, our culture….He then gets married, the deed is in his name, he builds his house, he has a mortgage in the bank. Ten years, fifteen years down the road, he pays off the mortgage and then suddenly decides…to get the wife’s name or the husband’s name on the title deed.

“The piece of land that he paid fifteen thousand dollars for, now developed in Bequia, is five hundred thousand dollars worth. So in order for his spouse, now, to own a part of that property, they have to pay the Government stamp duty of fifty thousand dollars. That is impossible. That is going to be a serious, serious problem,” Friday charged.

He said it is a common occurrence that people do not deal with the issue of property titles until their children are grown and gone.

Friday noted the Government sets the value of properties and the move “is simply a money grab”.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in his budget address on Monday announced the proposal to abolish “Deed of Gifts”.

This means that grandparents, parents and children, brothers and sisters and spouses, will no longer be able issue deeds of conveyance or transfer properties free of stamp duties.

The privilege to make the exempted transactions has been in operation for the past 20 years, but Gonsalves has explained that the time has come to pay, as a result of the exemption being used by unscrupulous persons and lawyers to evade the tax, as evidenced by the large number of deeds of gift relative to total deeds of transfer which are registered each year.

Friday however said if there is abuse by lawyers deal with that.

“You are taking a sledge hammer to kill a fly,” said Friday.

He appealed to the Prime Minister to deal with the implications of the proposal.

The expected revenue which will accrue from this move is $250,000 in 2011.(HN)