Effort to modernize real property tax systems to create 40 Bahamian jobs

Effort to modernize real property tax systems to create 40 Bahamian jobs
The Department of Inland Revenue (DIR) is moving to implement its Real Property Tax Modernization Project, which will immediately update the real property register.

Project targeted to yield estimated $21M in additional revenue

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Department of Inland Revenue (DIR) is pressing forward with its massive Real Property Tax Modernization Project that will immediately update the real property register, and eventually upgrade the entire assessment process and the woefully outdated land register.

In June, data collectors will start door-to-door visits to create a total inventory of all properties in New Providence. The project will hire up to 40 Bahamians to assist DIR and project consultants, Tyler Technologies, over the next 18-months. It will expand across the Family Islands as the next phase.

Originally engaged to assist the Real 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 – inclusive of the engagement of Bahamian staff during the 18-month exercise – is $7.2 million. The target is to add an estimated $21 million in RPT revenues annually, with an expected increase in the Real Property tax roll by about 30%.

Revenue Enhancement

The Real Property Tax Modernization Project is a key component of plans announced by K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance, to enhance revenue administration and improve yields from existing taxes. The project also falls squarely in line with the broader push to digitize all government services.

“This exercise is long overdue to help address known challenges will the RPT system and general inefficiencies in the Government’s tax administration. It will help to reduce further revenue leakage caused by dated, incomplete and inaccurate data currently stored in the system, and allow for fair and timely assessments, using quantifiable and objective criteria,” said Minister Turnquest. 

Public Sector Modernization

“It is in line with the Prime Minister’s mandate on modernization and digitization, for which DIR has been fully committed. As the Government’s largest tax collection agency, DIR continueS to drive the reform process forward. The data collection exercise commencing in June is only one part of a larger project, but it will set an important foundation for the entire RPT modernization,” he said.

In the future, the Government will provide online access to a public database of property values using data collected for the current data collection exercise. The project will establish a fully integrated and digital process for DIR to keep property values up-to-date, and create an open, transparent and objective basis for tax assessments to be made, queried and challenged.

Data Collection Exercise

“We are working hard to bring more accurate and objective data into the real property tax valuation system; this data collection exercise is the foundation. At the end of the project, we will finally be able to establish rate parity across the country, which means two neighbours will no longer have dramatically different rates on what seems like an arbitrary basis,” said Gaynell Rolle, Acting Comptroller of Inland Revenue.

“We are asking the general public to support the Department of Inland Revenue and its data collectors as we go into the field to meet with property owners and collect vital information that is mandated by the Real Property Tax Act. This is an important project to bring more integrity and fairness into the system; we are counting on the public to support our workers in the field,” said Ms. Rolle.

The field inspectors will collect information about residential and commercial properties, including verifying property ownership, year built, occupancy type, size of building, type of construction, number of rooms and other outlined characteristics. Inspections will also include building sketches, photographs and recent sale verification. All inspectors will carry proper identification with them.

Property owners do not have to allow data collectors inside their premises, but the overall accuracy of the information is enhanced when a property can be inspected inside and out.  The field collector will also verify 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 empower local, state, and federal government entities to operate more efficiently and connect more transparently with their constituents and with each other.

By connecting data and processes across disparate systems, Tyler’s solutions are transforming how clients gain actionable insights that solve problems in their communities. Tyler has more than 21,000 successful installations across 10,000 sites, with clients in all 50 states, Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, and other international locations. More information about Tyler Technologies, headquartered in Plano, Texas, can be found at tylertech.com.