On February 1, 2017 the Hope Town District Council received the property tax information from Nassau needed to process property taxes on behalf of the Treasury. On receiving the tax roll for the District, from Guana Cay to Lynyard Cay, Council members were sworn to confidentiality on the property tax information they received. However, Chief Councilor Jeremy Sweeting was able to announce the results for the first six-week period.
The Treasury received $285,214 from the Council’s efforts in six weeks. Of this amount $176,316 was for delinquent taxes.
The regulations state that the Treasury will return an amount quarterly to the Council. This amount will be negotiated between The Treasury and Local Government. There are additional financial rewards for local government councils for new tax enrollments and for properties reassessed that are found to be undervalued. Property tax rules and rates are determined by Nassau.
Local government staff is merely assisting in the collection process and being rewarded for their efforts.
Allowing local government to collect property taxes for the Treasury is an acknowledgment that Nassau has not done an adequate job of enforcing tax collection. The figures given above represent an initial effort by Mr. Sweeting and Council secretary, Marjorie Chapman.
They focused almost entirely on one cay, choosing delinquent owners that they thought would cooperate for becoming current. It is a time-consuming project to compile a house-by-house property census then compare it to the information given by Nassau looking for omissions, payments in arrears or obvious errors in assessment values.