Thursday, October 2, 2014

Property Tax Reform in The Bahamas

Tax System Inadequate, Says Halkitis

By Jones Bahamas:

The current property tax system is inadequate and riddled with duplications, this according to Minster of State for Finance Michael Halkitis who stressed that an overhaul of the entire system is needed as the government moves to collect outstanding property taxes.

“What we recognise is that the IT system we have in place is inadequate to track and make updates to make sure the information is corrected so we have entered into an agreement with an IT provider to give us a new property tax system that is modern and based on GPS,” he said.

“Going forward we want to have clean information system so that we can do a better job so that years from now we are not back in this position.”

He added that the government is faced with a huge task of collecting Real Property Tax dating as far back as 30 years ago.

While the number value is still unknown, Mr. Halkitis said that $500 million dollars in outstanding property tax figure that is being thrown around, however he said that dollar amount could very well be an inflated estimate.

“What we have learned is that the information in the system is not always reliable, we find almost daily people coming in and they say I receive this huge bill but when you take a second look at it in many occasions you may find for example, a common error is where something being classified as commercial when it should have been classified as residential so you make adjustments to correct the information and you begin to find that the numbers we believe are outstanding is really not outstanding.”

The accounting firm Kikivarakis & Co and private debt collectors are currently assisting the government with recovering its debt.

On that note Mr. Halkitis said that the government is making some progress towards recovering those monies owed.

He added that by the mid-year budget or even before then, he will be able to give an update on those property tax reform measures.

October 02, 2014

Jones Bahamas