Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
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DPM: Retrospective adjustments in real property tax exercise unlikely

It is unlikely the government will allow for retrospective adjustments as part of its aggressive new real property tax exercise, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday, however a definitive decision has not been made.

A retrospective adjustment involves altering past financial information according to a new accounting principle, as if that principle had always been applied.

Concerns from the public have mounted as property owners throughout the country brace for the tax crackdown.

“We anticipate that there are going to be properties that are going to be undervalued as well as those that will be overvalued. We will adjust the assessed values accordingly,” Turnquest told The Nassau Guardian after the Rotary Club of West Nassau meeting at The Poop Deck at Sandyport.

“If you’re asking me about retrospective adjustments I can’t see that. Taxes are not usually retrospectively adjusted, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

The government engaged Tyler Technologies Inc. to carry out data collection services for the Department of Inland Revenue’s Real Property Tax Valuation Unit.

That data collection was slated to begin this month and is expected to take 18 months, during which time data collectors are expected to visit and assess every piece of property on New Providence.

“The project is $7 million, it is going to engage about 45 Bahamians to conduct the surveys and the analysis and we’re going to be training them in that process, so that we don’t have to bring in the foreign contractors again. Then we’re going to expand out to the Family Islands to ensure that we have a sound database throughout the country. That’s the investment we’re making,” Turnquest said.

“At the end of the day we will be able to put onto the roll properties that have not been on the roll before and get a more objective, real time, currently assessed value on properties throughout the country.”

The government anticipates it is losing around $20 million annually from uncollected real property taxes.

Real property revenue for the first nine months of this fiscal year stands at $93.7 million. The government has projected it will collect $132.2 million in real property taxes this fiscal period.

Paige McCartney

Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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