JIS News

Pearl Piccott, Commissioner of Land Valuations at the National Land Agency (NLA) has said that the Division would be making every effort to clear the backlog of objection cases in the system.
“The Land Valuation Division acknowledges that there is in fact a backlog of objection cases in the system at this time, and has been making every effort to have it cleared. We currently have a backlog of 1,703 cases,” she told JIS News.
As contained in the Land Valuation Division’s Objections to Valuation Status Report, as of August 31, the Division received 6,520 cases of objection notices, with 4,817 of those cases completed.
Mrs. Piccott said that “of the 1,703 outstanding cases, 500 have been inspected and prepared for decisions to be taken and the notices of the decisions are expected to be mailed to the objectors as well as to the relevant collectors of taxes within the next six weeks.”
She also informs that arrangements would be made to complete the remaining inspections by the end of December 2006, “in keeping with the target date for the completion of objection cases as of March 31, 2007, as stated in our corporate plan for the year 2006/2007”.
Mrs. Piccott indicated that the inspections for the remaining cases “will be done utilizing vehicles owned by travelling officers, and agency vehicles from all divisions of the agency”.
She told JIS News that “the total number of properties for which objection cases are outstanding at this time represents 0.2 per cent that is, one fifth of one percent of the total 700,000 parcels on the Valuation Roll”, with six parishes having less than 10 cases outstanding. These are St. Thomas, Portland, St. Mary, St. Ann, Trelawny and Clarendon.
“The deadline for accepting notices of objections was in 2003, and as such, we are working with a reducing balance. No new cases are being added to the figure, except where new parcels of land have been created as a result of a sub-division,” informed Mrs. Piccott.Persons are able to make an objection to a Notice of Valuation upon the receipt of same, if they are dissatisfied with it for reasons relating to ownership, value or parcellation.
“In instances where the grounds of objection (related) to value, ownership or parcellation, that is, whether parcels, which should have been valued as one, were valued separately or vice versa, the time required to determine the matter may be outside of the control of the agency,” Mrs. Piccott explained, adding that some parcels may also be inaccessible, due to terrain or road conditions.
In the meantime, she said that issues of taxation policy and revenue collections would fall within the purview of the Ministry of Finance and its agency, the Inland Revenue Department.
She added that based on the provision of Section 24 of the Land Valuation Act, the full property tax payments was due in respect of properties for which objections have been lodged. “The only exception to this is where a separate declaration of value was submitted along with the notice of objection,” said Mrs. Piccott.
“In the case of these properties, the tax liability is based on either 75 per cent of the original valuation, or the value declared, whichever is the greater,” she added.
The Land Valuation Division provides services such as the provision of information relating to parcels of land, updates to the Valuation Roll such as change of ownership, change of postal address, preparation of valuation for government entities and the certification of value for properties, which are being sub-divided.