Monday, March 03, 2008

Taxing the Dead

Photo by Sabrina Gledhill - Copyright 2008

Yesterday (02/03/08), on p. 13 of its Sunday issue, the newspaper A Tarde published an article by Mary Weinstein, titled:

"Cemetery charged property tax"

Here are two excerpts:
"The British Cemetery on Ladeira da Barra, founded after the Brazilian ports were opened to 'friendly nations' in 1808 by [the future] João VI of Portugal, owes roughly BRL 1 million in property tax (IPTU). That total is estimated by the [retired] honorary British consul, Nigel Lee, based on five tax foreclosures issued in the last 15 years by the Treasury Department. He knows that, according to the notifications received, 'the property could be auctioned off' if that debt is not paid."

"For the past two years, the British Cemetery, which is about 3,200 sq.m in area, has been undergoing a process of restoration to ensure that its historic and aesthetic value is preserved.... It contains monumental tombstones, tablets and sculptures dating from the 19th and 20th centuries that comprise part of the State of Bahia's cemetery art collection, as well as being a listed heritage site. The guest book for the cemetery, which is now an open-air museum, shows that visitors from several countries have displayed interest in this historic cemetery. To go in, all you need to do is ring the bell that hangs by the front gate".