President’s Message – November 2012
I am delighted to start this month’s message with the news that Alena Holmes, the Director responsible for property taxes in the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic, has accepted our invitation to join IPTI’s Advisory Board which, with effect from January 2013, will be changing its name to IPTI’s Board of Advisors.
Alena will be well known to many of you who attend IPTI’s conferences, workshops, symposia, etc., as she or one of her colleagues from the Czech Republic regularly make very interesting and informative presentations. Alena will make a valuable addition to our Board of Advisors and I take this opportunity to publicly welcome her to one of IPTI’s key consultative bodies.
Talking of IPTI’s organizational structure, this was subject to review as part of our ongoing consideration of IPTI’s future strategic direction. We have looked at all our committees and other aspects of our leadership and management and I hope to be able to share more information about this when the review is complete. IPTI’s Directors devoted time to this important matter when they met in Toronto in October and we are in the process of concluding an updated strategic plan covering all aspects of our development over the next 5 years. Suffice it to say at this stage that we see an exciting future ahead for IPTI and I hope everyone associated with the organization will share my enthusiasm for our continued success.
We held an interesting meeting with colleagues from MPAC (the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) in October where we discussed IPTI’s work in connection with the “storyboards” that MPAC will be publishing as part of their enhancement of the information to be supplied to taxpayers to coincide with the publication of the new assessment rolls that come into force next year. MPAC are putting a great deal of investment into increased transparency to improve public awareness and understanding and we are very pleased to be supporting this important initiative.
We also met with colleagues from the IMA (the Institute of Municipal Assessors) to discuss the new training courses IPTI has prepared for their members and others with an interest in property tax assessments. We start delivering the new courses in November. This is another exciting initiative which is planned to continue for an initial period of 5 years.
Please visit our website to see details of the many forthcoming events we have planned for the remainder of this year and into 2013. We are continually adding items to the calendar, so please make sure you make regular visits to keep fully up to date.
Another new addition to our calendar of events for next year is our annual Mass Appraisal Valuation Symposium which is now planned to be held in Durban, South Africa, on 13-14 June 2013. This is being organized in conjunction with the South African Institute of Valuers and the African Tax Institute. I will let you have more details about this event in due course.
Another date for your diary is our Annual Conference which is now planned to be held in conjunction with the IRRV (the Institute for Revenues, Rating and Valuation) on 4-5 September 2013 at the Crieff Hydro Hotel in Scotland. This promises to be a wonderful event which will be run alongside the IRRV’s annual Scottish Conference. Although the details have yet to be finalised, it looks as if it will offer a great deal to both delegates and their families, so try to keep the dates free.
We were pleased to be invited to participate in the COST (the Council on State Taxation) Annual Meeting held in Orlando, Florida in October. This was a major event with over 450 people attending the conference. Our particular slot was entitled “Discussion of Property Tax Issues Confronting Businesses” and, in conjunction with colleagues from COST, focussed on the results of their latest “scorecard” for each of the States in the USA and the extension of this approach to a new international scorecard which we are preparing for them. There was good interaction with the delegates who mainly represent large businesses as they appreciate that property taxes are a major outgoing and therefore a big issue for them.
We are planning another joint property tax event with COST in Las Vegas on 16-17 January so if any of you fancy a trip to somewhere warm in what will, for many IPTI members, be the middle of winter, put that date in your new 2013 diary.
Many of you will have heard the news that the UK government have announced their intention to postpone the next revaluation of business properties in England. Revaluations of non-domestic properties in the UK are due to be held every 5 years, but the next one due in England in April 2015 will not now take place until 2017. This is subject to the UK government making a change in legislation which has not yet taken place, but the announcement has resulted in an outcry from businesses in England who had anticipated reduced property tax bills following the revaluation. It is not yet known whether other parts of the UK will follow suit, but taxpayers (ratepayers in the UK) are following developments very closely.
Another controversial UK proposal is due to be put to the vote in November when the rules concerning payment of rates for empty commercial properties in Scotland are planned to be changed by the Scottish Government. At present, businesses pay 50% of their full liability in respect of empty properties in Scotland; it is proposed to increase this to 90% which is causing concern to many businesses, particularly those who have small shops.
And, looking to a wider international view, there are plenty of controversial votes coming on various aspects of property tax systems in the USA including limiting or extending exemptions and “caps” on liability in different States and deciding property tax rates for 2013. Please look at IPTI Xtracts on our website for more information about these items.
Talking of the website, we devoted some time recently to “cleaning up” our website in preparation for the launch of a new IPTI website which we plan to introduce in January 2013. The new website will be easier to navigate and contain lots of helpful information for both members and visitors. However, it will continue to provide existing key information about our events and property tax information including IPTIpedia and IPTI Xtracts which are likely to be renamed on the new website.
As many of you know, I am keen on photographs (“a picture tells a thousand words”, etc) and we will have a new “image gallery” on the relaunched website which will enable us to share photos from our many events. So remember to keep smiling at IPTI events partly because you will be enjoying them and partly because you never know when there will be an IPTI “snapper” in action!
I mentioned earlier a number of somewhat controversial votes coming up on property tax issues and I am continually intrigued by the notion that property taxes seem to be constantly in need of “reform”, although no-one seems to have quite worked out what “reforms” are necessary! Still, I suppose this constant search for the “perfect” property tax system means that IPTI and its members are likely to be kept busy for the foreseeable future!
Talking of controversial, I imagine many of you will be aware that the Los Angeles County Assessor is currently in jail facing 24 felony counts for allegedly accepting bribes from a tax consultant to have his client's property taxes lowered. There have also been concerns expressed publicly about some reductions in property tax assessments in Washington DC. Of course I make no comment on the particular cases, but it does indicate the importance of ensuring ethical standards are maintained in property tax systems and this is an area likely to be of increasing importance for IPTI and its members.
Anyway, let me conclude this month’s message on a more positive note. IPTI will be devoting much of November to work on various projects, including an audit of the latest revaluation in Cape Town, South Africa, and I hope all this hard work shows that our expertise and advice is in demand around the world. Long may that continue to be the case.
Paul Sanderson, President
Download President's Message-October 2012
Download President's Message-September 2012
Download President's Message-August 2012
Download President's Message-July 2012
Download President's Message-June 2012
Download President's Message- May 2012