Minister maintains that ‘ordinary working-class Bahamians’ are not being targeted
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis said yesterday that while property tax rates across the country have not increased, a comprehensive reassessment of the property tax registry has led to the reassessment of certain properties.
In an interview with Eyewitness News yesterday, Halkitis explained: “Rates haven’t jumped; they remained the same. What happened is that we completed a total reassessment of the property tax registry.
Halkitis noted that while hundreds of millions of dollars are owed to the government in property taxes, the problem has been exacerbated by two issues.
“It’s a twin problem. This was partly because many properties were not listed on the register. This reassessment exercise was part of a mission to ensure that all properties are on the register,” Halkitis explained.
“Another problem was the significant undervaluation of properties. Someone might have had a property appraised in 2000 and never reappraised.
“Any increase in property tax would have been due to an assessment brought to a realistic level.”
He said anyone who disagrees with their property valuation can contact the Department of Inland Revenue.
The goal is not to raise taxes or be too aggressive, but to ensure that those who owe and have [the] ability to pay to do so.
– Michael Halkitis, Minister of Economic Affairs
According to Halkitis, the government is simply trying to make sure that people who have the capacity to pay their property taxes do so.
“The goal is not to raise taxes or be too aggressive, but to ensure that those who owe and have [the] ability to pay to do it,” he said.
“It’s not just about going after your everyday working-class Bahamian.”
Halkitis noted that during the year, the property tax issue did not receive sufficient attention, with regular assessments not carried out and insufficient efforts made to follow up with taxpayers.
He noted that as part of the government’s property tax collection efforts, the government offers rebates as an incentive for first payers.