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Increased Interest in UDC’s Tax Incentive Programme

The Urban Development Corporation (UDC) is reporting a four hundred percent (400%) increase in application for benefits under its Tax Incentive Programme from the period 2008 to 2012. This was announced at a Downtown Kingston Network Exchange forum hosted by the UDC on Thursday, July 26, in the Information Centre at the UDC’s Head Office on the Kingston Waterfront.

Speaking at the event, Gordon Summers, Director, Economic Development and Community Integration, UDC said “Several incentives are offered under the Tax Incentive Programme and we will be happy to sit with investors and determine how they can benefit from this programme.”

Beneficiaries over the period include JN General Insurance (formerly NEM Insurance), GraceKennedy, Digicel, Corporate Strategies Ltd., Jamaica Teas and Jamaica Public Service Company.

The Tax Incentive Programme for Urban Renewal is managed by the UDC, on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service and aims to garner the support of the private sector in arresting urban decay by encouraging the redevelopment of property in blighted areas.

The programme accomplishes this by enabling persons who either own or lease property in areas defined as special development areas to access incentives to redevelop the properties under the Urban Renewal (Tax Relief) Act which was established in 1995. A special development area is one which is declared by the minister responsible for urban development for the purpose of urban renewal.

Under the Tax Incentive Programme, tax relief is offered to companies or individuals undertaking capital investments in either land or buildings.  Tax Incentives are offered to both owners and lessees of property in the Special Development Areas.

The four incentives offered are Urban Renewal Bonds, Investment Tax Credit, Tax Free Rental Income and Exemption from Transfer Tax.

The Tax Incentive Programme was first introduced to downtown Kingston in 1995 and was subsequently extended to Port Royal in 1996, Montego Bay in 2000 and Spanish Town in 2008.

The Tax Incentive Programmme is just one of the investment vehicles that are being utilized to further spur the redevelopment of downtown Kingston and Port Royal. The policy for the two culturally rich areas is aligned with the Vision 2030 Jamaica national development plan.