There has been several articles in one of the local dailies regarding substantially increased property tax rates in Abaco and the wider Bahamas. In case you missed it, here are the links:
Today the real estate and legal professions in Abaco met with the Property Tax department of the Bahamas Dept. of Inland Revenue. It was a productive meeting and the office heard complaints and queries from realtors and attorneys on behalf of their clients.
The key take away points are:
The Bahamas Government had moved the billing and valuation activity to a centralized system in Nassau. This has created a hiccup which will be straightened out and it is an unfortunate side effect of trying to modernize and streamline systems. This part of a longer term activity of switching the governments account to an accrual based system.
Property owners in Exuma, Long Island, Eleuthera and other parts of the Bahamas has been impacted similarly, while the tax office is working on correcting and updating records.
All persons who feel they have been assessed property tax on a value which they feel is inaccurate is asked to lodge an appeal for re-assessment with the tax office in writing.
The deadline for submitting the appeal is March 31st.
The tax office is encouraging persons to make a payment for property tax at the amount of the previously billed 2017 rate while they work through the large number of requests for re-assessment. In some cases, persons may possibly receive a credit on their account if the taxes paid turn out to be higher than billed.
Lastly, any persons with outstanding arrears will need to bring the account current. It was not stated but implied that if the property tax account was unpaid for several years, then the tax office will not likely give it a priority, whereas it seemed to be implied that persons who have their taxes current up to 2017 will be given preferential treatment.
If you have more questions or need advice on property tax matters in the Bahamas, I encourage you to contact your real estate agent or your attorney here to discuss your options.
As always, if you have a current appraisal report in hand from a BREA licensed appraiser when you got to visit the office and file an appeal the whole process will be much smoother and quicker. Contact me for more information on having an appraisal prepared for you.