Effort to modernize property tax systems to create 40 jobs in the Bahamas – Eye Witness News
Project targeted to generate additional revenue estimated at $21 million
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Department of Inland Revenue (DIR) is continuing its massive property tax modernization project that will immediately update the real estate registry and eventually upgrade the entire valuation process and the terribly outdated land registry.
In June, data collectors will begin door-to-door visits to create a total inventory of all New Providence properties. The project will hire up to 40 Bahamians to assist DIR and the project’s consultants, Tyler Technologies, over the next 18 months. It will expand across family islands in the next phase.
Originally hired to assist the Property Tax Unit in 2014, Tyler is a specialist in the field, with international expertise in mass appraisals and technology-driven tax solutions. The cost of the project – including the engagement of Bahamian personnel over the 18-month fiscal year – is $7.2 million. The goal is to add approximately $21 million to RPT revenue per year, with a planned increase in the real estate tax roll of approximately 30%.
The Property Tax Modernization Project is a key part of plans announced by K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Department of Finance, to improve revenue administration and improve existing tax yields. The project also fits perfectly into the broader drive to digitize all government services.
“This exercise is long overdue to help address known challenges in the RPT system and general inefficiencies in government tax administration. This will help reduce further revenue losses caused by outdated, incomplete and inaccurate data currently stored in the system, and enable fair and timely assessments, using quantifiable and objective criteria,” said Minister Turnquest.
Public sector modernization
“It is part of the Prime Minister’s mandate in terms of modernization and digitization, for which the DIR is fully committed. As the largest government tax collection agency, the DIR continues to drive the reform process forward. The data collection exercise which begins in June is only part of a larger project, but it will lay an important foundation for the entire modernization of the RPT,” he said.
Going forward, the government will provide online access to a public database of land values using data collected for the current data collection exercise. The project will establish a fully integrated, digital process for DIR to maintain up-to-date property values and create an open, transparent and objective basis for tax assessments to be conducted, queried and challenged.
Data collection exercise
“We are working hard to bring more accurate and objective data into the property tax assessment system; this data collection exercise is the basis. At the end of the project, we will finally be able to achieve rate parity across the country, which means no two neighbors will have dramatically different rates on what appears to be an arbitrary basis,” said Gaynell Rolle, Comptroller by interim tax.
“We are asking the general public to support the Department of Inland Revenue and its data collectors as we go out into the field to meet property owners and gather vital information that is mandated by property tax law. This is an important project to bring more integrity and fairness to the system; we are counting on the population to support our workers on the ground,” said Ms. Rolle.
Field inspectors will collect residential and commercial property information, including ownership verification, year built, occupancy type, building size, construction type, number of rooms and other features described. Inspections will also include construction sketches, photographs and recent sale verification. All inspectors will carry appropriate identification.
Landlords don’t have to allow data collectors inside their premises, but overall information accuracy is improved when a property can be inspected inside and out. The field collector will also check and measure the exterior of each building and photograph each property.
About Tyler Technologies, Inc.
Tyler Technologies (NYSE:TYL) is the largest and most established provider of integrated software and technology services focused on the public sector. Tyler’s end-to-end solutions enable local, state and federal government entities to operate more efficiently and connect more seamlessly with their constituents and each other.
By connecting data and processes across disparate systems, Tyler’s solutions transform how customers get actionable insights that solve problems in their communities. Tyler has over 21,000 successful installations at 10,000 locations, with customers in all 50 states, Canada, the Caribbean, Australia and other countries. For more information about Tyler Technologies, headquartered in Plano, Texas, visit tylertech.com.