The Bahamas government is providing a tax amnesty to property owners ahead of the June 30 deadline.
The government says effective immediately, the Real Property Tax Amnesty Programme could save home owners up to 50 per cent of the taxes owned to government if they make arrangements with the assessment team. But the government gave no indication as to how much money is owed to it by tax payers.
According at the Chief Evaluation Officer and Controller of Inland Revenue, Roger Forbes, taxpayers have three options to meet the June deadline. He said taxpayers would then have up to December 2013 to finalise a zero balance on their property tax accounts.
"The government has instituted an amnesty programme under the Real Property Tax Act and it allows persons to benefit tremendously from several options under this programme," said Forbes, noting that persons who have properties that are assessed with arrears of not more than three years, are able to get relief on the assessed amount, plus the surcharge interest of 50 percent.
“That's 50 per cent of the tax amount and 50 per cent of the surcharge. That's a tremendous relief. That's for arrears of not more than three years, and of course, those taxes must be paid in full by the 30th of June, 2013," said Forbes.
"The second option is for properties that are on the assessed list and with arrears going back for more than three years. These persons are entitled to a waiver of 100 per cent of the total surcharge," he said, adding however, the payment must be made in full by December 31 this year.
The third option would allow people with properties that are not on the assessment list to get theim on the list.
"The government will waiver the taxes for the prior years, providing again that the property is on the register with our department, that is the Evaluation Department, on or before the 30th of June, 2013,” Forbes said, adding that nearly 20 per cent outstanding properties remain to be put on the list.
Forbes said Bahamians would know how much they are required to pay when they receive their tax bill which, if they are exempt, will not show a taxable amount. He said if anyone is in doubt, they are free to call the office and visit to validate the balances.
"We recommend that all properties are registered because you may be exempt today but with improvements done to the property, it may fall within another category tomorrow," he said warning people not to sit back and procrastinate because there is no guarantee of any future amnesty.