Property valuation list now available for inspection around the country
February 8, 2013

Property valuation list now available for inspection around the country

Property owners will begin paying taxes under the new legislation as of July 1, this year. Payments made after a three month grace period, will attract penalties.{{more}}

This is the first year that taxes will be paid under the market value method, and Comptroller of Inland Revenue Kelvin Pompey says he is expecting a smooth transition, from the annual rental value system, to the new method of assessing property tax.

Pompey, speaking to SEARCHLIGHT this week, pointed out that as part of the December 2012 legislation, his department is required to produce and publish a valuation list of all the properties, their location and their market value.

He said that the country has been divided into various districts, and these lists have been strategically placed at town board offices, district clinics, post offices as well as police stations throughout the country.

He said that property owners are encouraged to peruse the lists and visit the Department if they find any discrepancies.

The Comptroller said it is likely that some persons would query the valuation made on their property by the Department, but he does not anticipate that there would be many, or drawn out appeals.

“We have not had … any appeal in terms of persons appealing directly to the value, but we expect that there will be some.

“Over the next three months, persons who have any issues, objections, or appeals, specifically with the value that was placed on their property, can come into the department and lodge an appeal and we can sit and work it out.

“Persons who also are coming with grievances, they should come also with the deed, an old property tax bill, if they have one and also a survey plan, so that would help us to identify the property.”

According to Pompey, about 70 per cent of the property owners would pay more tax on their property under the new system, and this is primarily because of significant changes to the property over the years, as well as the different tax brackets.

“So, while we may have it for annual rental value as a two-bedroom one-storey, the person over the years has added three more rooms and gone and put upstairs and all those kinds of things, so for market value, it is now higher, so you are going to find those situations existing.

“The standard rate for residential properties is 0.08 per cent of the market value…. Properties that are used exclusively for commercial, their rate is 0.06 per cent…. property used principally for agricultural purposes… hotels and guest houses and any tourism development, and factories that are used in manufacturing pay 0.04 per cent. For vacant lands and properties that are valued at less than $50,000, they pay a flat fee of $10 annually.”

Pompey said that the new market value property tax system is part of a series of initiatives that is being used to bring the Inland Revenue Department up to date.

He said that an education drive will be taking place to inform taxpayers about the new system, following the recently ended workshop with town clerks and district revenue officers.

“We have a responsibility in administering taxation and to ensure that we use the most efficient, most modern and less costly methods of doing things and this modernization is another step along that way.

“For the past decades, we’ve been using an annual rental value and this is based on how much a property can be rented for in a given area, and depending on the size of the property; but this method is unreliable and it’s hard to get rental data and it’s not very transparent and administratively, it’s much more difficult to administer than the market value.

“Under market value, it’s easier for the taxpayer to see and to come up with their own valuation if they think it should be different, because they have a lot of private valuators out there…. This is almost being done worldwide in most countries that do property tax assessing under the market value.

“I think people, once they get to see this new system in operation, and those who have, would agree that it’s more equitable, it’s more transparent and it’s easier to manage and I guess all of this would translate into a more likeable system than the previous one.”

Pompey also pointed out that up to $12 million is outstanding on property taxes, and as early as this month, the department would be taking the necessary steps to recover those arrears.

He said that these measures could range from voluntary compliance, garnishes, seizure, disposal of movable assets, and seizing and selling of property.(JJ)