What We Do
The Valuation Section is responsible for determining the purchase price on the sale of National Land and the rental value for leases of National Land. It is also responsible for vetting the consideration on transfers of private land and the transfer of leases of National Land.
The basis of taxation under the Land Tax Act is the unimproved value of the land. In addition to the ordinary land tax, there is also a speculation tax for parcels in excess of 300 acres that are in an unimproved condition. These lands attract a tax of 5% of their unimproved value.
The Section is responsible under the Land Tax Act for the valuation of all rural lands for taxation purposes. The legislation stipulates that a valuation roll for each district shall be prepared by the Chief Valuer in respect of “agricultural lands” and such valuation roll shall set forth in respect of each separate property the following particulars-
- The name of every owner of the land and the nature of his interest therein, together with the name of the beneficial owner in the case of land held in trust.
- The name of the occupier or, if there be more than one, the occupiers and the area occupied by each.
- The location, description and area of the land.
- The unimproved value of the land; and
- The tax payable therefore.
The legislation further requires a separate register to be maintained in the same manner by the Chief Valuer in respect of suburban lands and one for beach lands which shall be revised every three years. The Chief Valuer shall in addition, send a notice to the owner requiring him to submit a return in the form set out in the First Schedule hereof within three months of the date specified in the notification in the Gazette:
Provided always that in respect of any revision required by this section to be made, the Chief Valuer, if in his opinion it is impracticable or undesirable to make that revision, may determine that the revision shall be postponed until such date as he may decide which date shall, in any event, be no later than twelve months after the date on which the revision should have been made.
The specific functions of this section include:
- Pricing government land for sale.
- Estimating rental values for leases of National Land.
- Vetting of consideration value on private transfers.
- Vetting of consideration value on transfer of leases.
- Conduct valuations for other ministries as requested from time to time (MOF).
- Provide valuation advice and support to local authorities upon request.
- Maintenance of valuation rolls for all rural lands.
- Responsible for implementation/enforcement of the Provisions of the Land Acquisition Act (Public Purpose) including appraising the value of land under compulsory purchase.
The major functions of the Valuation Section, Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, Lands & Survey Department are to execute land acquisitions, calculate land taxes, calculate purchase price, calculate rental values and the vetting of considerations/land values.
The Section is also responsible for creating new tax account, the same as the National Estate Section and the Land Registry Section and the categorizing of land use. Categorization land implies that lands are grouped into categories, to differentiate its use. Examples of land use categories are beach side properties, agriculture lands, suburban lands and village lot.
Of the many functions of the section, one of the key functions is Land Acquisition. For ease of paramount management of land acquisitions, the section has introduced a Land Acquisition Management System (LAMS) which will be a vital part of the new fiscal year’s focal point. One of the system’s primary function is to record all relevant information such as payments and outstanding balances by the Government of Belize, for Land Acquisition for public purposes according to the Land Acquisition (Public Purposes) Act, Chapter 184 of the Laws of Belize, and Land Acquisition (Promoters) Act Chapter 183 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000, secondly; revising the Land Acquisition Index for ease of information and thirdly, updating other records.
The Valuation Section is a very technical section responsible for some paramount decisions and is in possession and deals with sensitive issues for the most part. With the onus on the section, it is also responsible for determining the purchase price on the sale of national land. It is responsible for the updating of the lands records in order for the Revenue Section to be able to collect its revenue smoothly. When this is not done, it results in the Department loosing revenue, as the cashiers countrywide would not be in a position to collect payment for a record that has not been updated.