Chartered appraiser says ‘overstated’ home appraisals are prevalent
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As dozens of Bahamians face “inflated assessments” of their homes for tax purposes by the Department of Inland Revenue, the Bahamas Real Estate Association said yesterday it had requested an extension of the date month-end limit due to the volume of actions of questions asked by the evaluators and the association.
The deadline to dispute this year’s tax bills is today.
In an interview with Eyewitness NewsBahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) president Christine Wallace-Whitfield said she wrote to the Department of Inland Revenue asking for the extension ‘just because we’re just inundated with so many people questioning’ the appraisals. houses for tax purposes.
She said that while the department did not respond yesterday afternoon, the government sought to work with the association following talks to “help anyone who has questions about their property tax“.
The BREA president encouraged owners to question their invoices where there appear to be discrepancies and to request extensions to the payment deadline.
“I can tell you that chartered appraisers have been very, very busy and overwhelmed with doing appraisals,” Wallace-Whitfield said.
“It was a great deal, but as I said before, we could have eliminated all of that if we had sat down, at the beginning, to really think about it.
“We’re here now at this point, so let’s just try to see how much we can rectify this so that everyone is as comfortable with what they have in front of them in terms of property tax numbers. “
Economic Affairs Minister Michael Halkitis has advised anyone unhappy with the reassessed level of their property tax this year to lodge an appeal.
Eyewitness News reported yesterday that the owners of a condominium complex on Paradise Island received bills this year that were almost 300% higher than the government’s assessment the previous year and almost 200% higher than the value of the property. independent assessment carried out last month.
These owners contested these invoices.
There have been reports of homeowners receiving tax bills that were 300% and 400% higher than the actual value of their home.
The appeals process requires independent assessment – a process lamented by some because of the cost.
Others have questioned the Department of Inland Revenue’s home valuation methodology and why its valuations are not more in line with appraisers.
Wilshire Bethel, a licensed appraiser, said Eyewitness News it has been inundated with calls for expertise in recent months.
“I’ve been asked to do a few, and a number of people I know personally — other reviewers — have been asked,” he said.
“I’ve had one case in particular where the valuations, for example, Bayside on Paradise Island where the values are normally at their highest, when they’re at their best, around, plus or minus, say half a million dollars.
“And the value given by the real estate section ranked these properties well over a million dollars.
“In other words, it’s more than twice, three times the actual value. That’s what I know. But there are many properties that are overvalued for property tax purposes.
Bethel said assessments deemed unreasonable should be challenged.
He noted, however, that there have been instances where properties have been undervalued and after an appraisal it was determined that the taxman was “generous”.
“But there are many cases where the values have been overestimated…”