All property in Bermuda is revalued every five years by the Land Valuation Department. The revaluation process establishes annual rental values at a point in time, which are used to determine property taxes.
As of December 2015, the new 2015 Draft Valuation List of annual rental values is available for review at all post offices across Bermuda, at the Land Valuation Department offices, and through the online search facility.
The Annual Rental Value (ARV) appearing in the 2015 Draft Valuation List represents rental values current on or about the valuation date of 1 July 2014. Should you believe that an entry in the 2015 Draft Valuation List is incorrect, you have until the 30 June 2016 in which to make a formal objection.
Property values change over time and these changes are not uniform across the market. Regular five yearly revaluations allow for changes in the property rental market and especially relative changes in rental values between properties to be reflected in the valuation list. The revaluation also gives taxpayers a regular opportunity to challenge their assessment.
Changes to the Valuation List
As existing properties are altered, new properties built or others demolished, the Director of Land Valuation has to make modifications to the Valuation List in order to reflect these changes.
Certain types of development are required to have Planning permission. Once the works to a property are complete, a Certificate of Use and Occupancy Permit from the Planning Department will be issued. The original Permit is issued to the applicant and a copy sent to the Land Valuation Department in order to bring these changes to the Director’s attention.
Prior to an inspection, the taxpayer will receive written notification in the form of an Inspection Letter from the Department notifying the owner of the proposed site visit, together with the contact details of the member of staff who will be carrying out the inspection.
The staff member will inspect the property and record details necessary for valuation purposes, including measurements of the structures on the property and notes of other factors that affect the value of the unit. Land Valuation Department staff will have photo identification with them during a site visit and should you have a concern about someone claiming to be from the Department, please call the Department on (441) 297-7964 for confirmation.
The resurvey also provides an opportunity for the Department to update its records and pick up any additional changes which may have taken place at the property since our last site visit.
Residential properties are measured on an external basis, however in some instances, internal access to a valuation unit may be required e.g. where there are apartments, internal access may be required to establish the division walls between the units.
Commercial units are measured on an internal basis and internal access is therefore required during the inspection. All measurements taken by the Department are done so in metric (centimeters, meters and square meters). The information collected onsite is collected for the sole purpose of maintaining the Valuation List. This information is treated as confidential and is not released or shared with any other Government Department.
Once the onsite data capture is completed, a valuation of each valuation unit at the property is carried out, having regard to the established levels of value in the Valuation List.
If there is an alteration to the Annual Rental Value, a Notice.pdf is then served on the taxpayer of record proposing to alter the Valuation List accordingly.
What if you don’t agree with the proposed amendment?
There is a right of objection if you do not agree with the reassessment. In order to submit an objection you are required to fill out the notice of objection within 28 days after the date of the proposal (if service by hand delivery or email) and submit to the Department. If service of the notice is by pre-paid post, then you must submit the notice of objection within 31 days after the date of the notice.