There are approximately 3,600 commercial valuation units currently in Bermuda.
Commercial properties are valued in a similar way to residential properties, but not identical. One of the main differences is that commercial properties are measured on a metric Net Internal basis.
When the department is assessing a commercial valuation unit, it has to ascertain what areas within the commercial valuation unit are used for what purpose. This is determined through an internal inspection by the department.
There will be varying degrees of value attributed to certain parts of the commercial valuation unit depending on what type of use it has. For example, a shop’s retail area will be attributed a higher level of value than its basement storage areas. Likewise, the office areas in an industrial warehouse will have a higher value attributed to them when compared to the warehouse factory floor.
Commercial properties are prone to frequent changes with various modifications occurring over a property’s life, ranging from internal configuration adjustments to areas being upgraded or properties changing their entire use depending who the occupier is.
When there are changes to a commercial property, it is important for the owner or agent to fill out a Commercial-Property-Changes-Form.pdf (CPC Form). This is required in order for the department to understand what modifications have been undertaken to each valuation unit and the details of these alterations.
In accordance with the Land Valuation and Tax Act 1967.pdf, an occupier with a lease of three years or more is viewed as the legal owner and therefore liable for land tax. This is why it is important for the Department to have all the appropriate information to hand in quantifying who should be responsible for land tax following the changes highlighted in a completed CPC Form.
In addition to completing a CPC Form, it is standard practice for copies of signed leases to be requested by the department in relation to a tenant’s occupation.
Copies of the signed leases are required by the department in order to confirm the following information:
1. A description of the demised leased area, including the floor area in square feet/square meters and any storage or car parking leased to the tenant.
2. The term of the lease in years. Note that tenants of a lease of 3 years or more are regarded as owners for land tax purposes and are served with a proposal to bring a unit into the Valuation List.
3. The legal name of the tenant.
4. The registered street address of the tenant to which a proposal should be sent.
5. Rental arrangements agreed under the lease, including details of any tenant incentives
All lease information, like all other information collected by the department, is treated as confidential and used solely for land taxation purposes and is not released or shared with any other government department or third party.
The only information that is made available to the public on an individual valuation unit is the entry in the Valuation List which can be viewed by anyone in the search facility on this website or in the department in the hard copy of the existing Valuation List.
In order to qualify for charitable exemption under the Land Valuation and Tax Act 1967, an organization needs to meet all of the following requirements:
- Is a charitable organization within the meaning given in section 2 of the Charities Act 2014;
- Has a charitable purpose within the meaning given in section 2 of the Charities Act 2014;
- The premises are owned and occupied by the charitable organization (note: tenants are the deemed owner for land taxation purposes if they are in occupation on a lease of not less than three (3) years or if in occupation of a unit owned by the crown, the occupier is deemed to be the owner);
- The premises are used wholly or mainly for the charitable purposes of that organization; and
- Relies wholly or mainly for its funds upon contributions from members of the public.
Typically, most applications for exemption fail on requirement 5) due to the way they are funded as the majority of their funding is through international committees, international grants, local Government grants or other forms of revenue, rather than relying wholly or mainly for its funds upon contributions from members of the public.
Should an organization wish to apply for charitable exemption, a Charitable Exemption Application Form must be filled out.