- Property Liable to pay taxes
Chapter 65 (section 4) of the Laws of Belize states “all property the fee of which is in the Crown and in respect of which is held under preemption or lease, or agreed to be sold, granted of conveyed, or occupied shall be liable (while so held or occupied or during the existence of such agreement) to taxation from the date of preemption, record or lease or agreement to sell grant or convey (as the case may be), but such taxation shall not in any way affect the rights of Her Majesty is such lands.”
- Why pay property taxes?
Property Tax is the means by which each owner or occupier of a property contributes towards the cost of service and infrastructure provided by the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council.
- What is annual tax?
This Is the yearly fee that each owner or occupied needs to pay for as property tax. This is determined by the rateable value of the property (Annual Value/Value).
- What is a valuation Roll?
A valuation roll is a record of all rated (valued) properties in your rating area, showing the name of owner or occupier, lot number, house number, name of street, and property indicating the annual value of the property, the rate percentage and the annual tax of such property.
- Who fixes the rateable value?
The valuation officer, is appointed by the Local Authority, the duty of the valuation officer is to prepare the valuation roll and to make any amendments as changes occur on the property.
- How are rateable values arrived at?
All properties, including dwellings are assessed by reference to the Market Rental Values. This means that a trained valuation officer, values your property at the market rental value, in his opinion, from his knowledge of what actual rents in your area would be from year to year in the open market. Irrespective of whether the property is rented or owner-occupied, the valuer must assess the property based on its actual market rental value. In case of an empty lot, the property is assessed based on the market value of the lot.
- What does the valuation officer takes into account when assessing a property?
Any feature which influence the market rental value, such as location, condition of building, type and size, architectural design, parking area, garage or other buildings on the property. He may also consider making allowances for lack of facilities such as indoor bathroom, electricity and others.
Can I Appeal against any assessment?
Yes you can. An appeal may be made against any new assessment but such appeal has to be made in writing to the Valuation Officer.
- On what ground can I appeal?
On any ground on which you believe your property is over-assessed, but you must show valid reasons, why, in your opinion, the assessment is wrong. For example, you may think that your assessment is higher than other properties in your area; or the assessment exceeds what you believe to be the market rental value. Appealing because you cannot afford the rate is not considered an acceptable reason for an appeal.
- How do I appeal?
By writing a formal letter to the Valuation Officer at the San Ignacio/Santa Elena Town Council and stating the grounds for appeal.
- What happens when I appeal?
The Valuation Officer shall request an updated inspection of the said property of verify such claims, and if possible, will request that you be present at the property which is the subject of appeal. The Valuation Officer will serve the letter of appeal to the Valuation Appeal Board to be processed. At that meeting you may amplify the written grounds of your appeal and the Valuation Officer will give his reasons for his valuation. After verifying and reviewing the valuation on the said property, the valuation officer then notifies you in writing as the outcome of your appeal, that is if an adjustment was made or the assessment remained the same.
- How is an appeal settled?
If, after discussions with the Valuation Officer, you wish to withdraw your appeal; you can do so, but you will be required to do so in writing as to that effect. If you agree on a new assessment value with the Valuation Officer, then the valuation officer will inform you of such changes in writing. If you are not satisfied with the new value then the matter may be sent to the Valuation Appeal Board (see 12 and 13)
- What happens if we cannot agree?
If the appeal is not settled with the Valuation Officer, he will then send the appeal to Valuation Appeal Board for your case to be heard. Negotiations may still continue with the Valuation Officer right up to the hearing. (see 13)
- What is a Valuation Appeal Board?
It is a Board consisting of three (3) members who decide on appeal matters regarding property taxes within the town limits of San Ignacio and Santa Elena Town. The chairman of the board is the chief magistrate who is responsible to serve a fourteen day notice on both parties (Appellant/Valuation Officer). The chairman also