The Bahamas Real Estate Association (“BREA”), challenges the legality and validity of the Department of Inland Revenue’s (“DIR”) 2022 Real Property Tax Assessments.
According to a press release by Jennifer Kepler of Tyler Technologies Inc. (“Tyler”) on 14-May-19 on www.bloomberg.com, “The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is already a Tyler client, having selected its iasWorld^® appraisal and tax administration software in 2014. Following an on time and on budget implementation, The Commonwealth contracted with Tyler for its CLT Appraisal Services in 2016 to gather street-level images of all residential and commercial properties on the island of New Providence, as well as conduct a pilot reappraisal project of 6,600 properties on the island. With the success of these services, Tyler and The Commonwealth agreed to continue their partnership on a reappraisal project of the entire island of New Providence.”
In the spirit of utilizing technology to improve the efficiency of any business, BREA applauds the DIR for purchasing and implementing Tyler’s software in 2014. However, BREA objects to the content of the quotation from Jake Wilson (vice president of and general manager of appraisal services for Tyler) “We are pleased to be selected once again to provide appraisal services to The Commonwealth of the Bahamas and bring fair and equitable taxation to its residents”.
The Real Estate (Brokers and Salesmen) Act, 1995, (“Act”) clearly defines that a person is engaged in the practice of real estate business, if on behalf of another party, that person appraises property for compensation. The Act prohibits any person from the practice real estate business (including undertaking appraisals) without a valid license issued to that person under the Act. According to the Act, only a Bahamian citizen or the holder of a certificate of permanent residence with the right to work endorsed thereon can become licensed to practice real estate.
At no time did Tyler submit to BREA application(s) to license its appraisers under their contract with Government. BREA has not granted any appraiser licenses to Tyler or its personnel.
Based on evidence in the Tyler press release, Tyler has admitted that it was contracted by Government to provide appraisal services to Government on two occasions. Under the Act, such appraisal services were illegal without a valid licensed issued under the Act. By extension, any reassessed property value undertaken and provided to the DIR or Government by any unlicensed representative of Tyler should therefore be deemed illegal and void in law. Under the circumstances and on behalf of the residents of The Bahamas, BREA kindly asks the Government to immediately withdraw altogether its 2022 Assessment of Real Property Tax.