BREA president praises govt plan to reform system, while former minister of state for finance estimates 30% of landowners are unregistered
JEFFREY TODD Guardian Business Editor email@example.com
Published: Feb 26, 2013
The government is rolling out major incentives to property owners in an effort to complete its tax register and encourage back payments.
In Prime Minister Perry Christie's mid-year budget communication yesterday, he announced that residential and commercial properties not on the books are exempt from any property taxes owed if they register their properties by June of this year.
The government has set an exemption threshold of $250,000.
For registered property owners with arrears of less than three years, the government plans to waive 50 percent of what's owed in assessment and surcharge if payments are made by the June deadline. Property owners with arrears beyond three years benefit from a complete waiver of surcharge payments only, provided there is a payment made by December 21, 2013. And to reward those within the letter of the law, the government will rebate five percent of annual real property taxes if the owner remains current on payments over the next three years.
"This is exactly what the country needs at this point," said Franon Wilson, president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA). "The government could drop the hammer. But this shows a hand is being put out to the Bahamian community instead."
While the country is likely to lose out on uncollected funds, the BREA executive said that the measures would be well-received by property owners and bring many of them in from the cold.
He also praised the government for including a five percent rebate for faithful taxpayers.
Wilson went on to describe the compete waiver for unregistered property owners as "the opportunity of a lifetime" to move forward. And for those that have fallen behind in payments, it gives Bahamians a helping hand to get the flow of taxes going again.
James Smith, a former minister of state for finance and a key advisor to the Christie administration, said that the main objective is to get a complete register. He estimated that 30 percent of property owners in The Bahamas are not registered at all, let alone those not paying on a consistent basis.
"The people who are not registered, you cannot assume they simply don't want to pay. The idea is to have a complete register as soon as possible, by providing these incentives," he told Guardian Business.
For those that refuse to register despite the incentives, Smith said that new legislation should zero in on offenders. However, Smith said the main problem with property tax has not been the people, but rather poor administration to enforce the rules.
In the past, top realtors in the country have blasted poor communication, slow processing and a lack of accountability on the part of tax administrators.
“It’s so simple it’s mind-boggling,” said George Damianos, the president of Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty. “If you don’t pay your taxes, how many follow-ups does the person get through mail or telephone calls? It doesn’t happen. But it should happen. There should be penalties and enforcement of the interest. I see it across my desk. There are so many people who don’t pay and there is no accountability.”
FOLLOWING launches in London and Asia, Baha Mar announced yesterday the launch of its luxury residences in New Providence.
Rick English, Sr Vice President of Residential Sales for Baha Mar said that during the past two months, the company had been focused on ‘building excitement’ in global markets for owning a residence at Baha Mar.
Officially launching the company’s residential sales in Nassau yesterday, he said: “Initial interest and sales are exceeding our expectations. We are now pleased to announce that we have selected five local real estate firms to represent Baha Mar.”
During the past week, Baha Mar has worked with Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty, H.G. Christie Ltd., Mario Carey Real Estate, Cross & Mosko Real Estate and Development Co., and ERA Dupuch Real Estate on the features at Baha Mar.
Training sessions included information on the range of the Baha Mar experience and featured previews of the residence designs and layouts.
Sessions also included instruction on the tax waivers and owners’ eligibility for permanent residency in The Bahamas.
Prices start at $1.5 million. Freehold title in the residences are sold by deed and can be held by the buyer in perpetuity.
Buyers have the option of year-round personal use of their residence or they can take part in Baha Mar’s rental programme, which allows for up to 90 days of personal use per year.
All property owners enjoy tax-free capital gains on resale. In addition, the rental programme allows owners to convert a portion of their personal usage for credits that can be redeemed for accommodations at more than 300 luxury hotels and resorts. All Baha Mar owners are eligible to apply for permanent resident status in the islands of The Bahamas.
In June Baha Mar launched its residences at the world-renowned Harrods department store in London’s upscale Knightsbridge district - an area in keeping with the image, and clientele, it is seeking to attract.
Scheduled for opening in late 2014, Baha Mar will boast a total of 2,200 hotel rooms, spread across four major hotel brands including Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Mondrian, a Morgans Hotel Group property, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, as well as the centerpiece of Baha Mar, The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel.
A total of 307 private, freehold residences are available for sale and located within each of the hotels.
When we interviewed Jason Kinsale owner and developer of the Balmoral he had some really interesting things to say that did not make the final edit. Here is part 5 of the uncut interview.
When we interviewed Jason Kinsale owner and developer of the Balmoral he had some really interesting things to say that did not make the final edit. Here is part 4 of the uncut interview.
When we interviewed Jason Kinsale owner and developer of the Balmoral he had some really interesting things to say that did not make the final edit. Here is part 3 of the uncut interview.
When we interviewed Jason Kinsale owner and developer of the Balmoral he had some really interesting things to say that did not make the final edit. Here is part 2 of the uncut interview.
When we interviewed Jason Kinsale owner and developer of the Balmoral he had some really interesting things to say that did not make the final edit. Here is part 1 of the uncut interview.
We've finally made it down to the #1 reason why The Balmoral is a smart Caribbean real estate investment and it's simply Value.
Real estate investors are always looking for properties that provide value in terms of several attributes:
1. Monetary return on investment: Will the property increase in value over a certain period of time?
2. Lower carrying costs: How much will rental agreements off-set the investment? How much monthly cash flow is required?
3. Value-added amenities and location: These are the priceless details: fixtures, size of property, location to a good beach, community, etc.
When it comes to these areas of "Value" The Balmoral in Nassau, Bahamas can't be beat! Our previous top reasons all add up to The Balmoral having the best bang-for-your-buck when it comes to its ROI, comfortable cash flow, and most important, The Balmoral's amenities that are unparalleled in Caribbean real estate market.
Contact us today and learn more about the final remaining units available!
10. Cable Beach, Nassau
9. The Sophisticated Nassau, Bahamas Lifestyle
8. Bahamian Weather
5. Baha Mar
4. Friendly foreign real estate laws
3. Balmoral Clubhouse
2. Access and great rental rate
We’re counting down the Top 10 reasons as to what makes The Balmoral a smart Caribbean real estate investment. Today, we’re talking about #7: Safety
The Bamoral, in Nassau Bahamas, takes great pride in its safe, stress-free environment. Not only is Nassau a safe community in which to vacation, owners can be rest assured that their property is secure at all times within The Balmoral gated community.
Unlike many Caribbean cities, Nassau is an affluent city and generally safe to walk the main streets day or evening. Its sophisticated nightlife encompasses large resort hotel hot spots like Atlantis or smaller watering holes along the strip near The Balmoral.
Condominium owners at The Balmoral say that they feel very safe while vacationing at their residence with their families. The streets are quiet and serene and its unique "cul de sac" design throughout maximizes privacy while minimizing traffic - truly a place you can call home.
Even when owners are away from The Balmoral, the gated community continues to protect owners’ properties 24/7. The development has invested in maintaining a secure compound year round - making your real estate investment stress free!
Of course, while crime can happen anywhere, tourists always should be careful travelling to other countries as they may be unfamiliar with certain undesirable areas and elements during their stay in any city.
Previous Posts: Top 10 Reasons why The Balmoral is a smart Caribbean real estate investment?”
10. Cable Beach, Nassau
9. The Sophisticated Nassau, Bahamas Lifestyle
8. Bahamian Weather