Inaccurate property evaluations may have cost homeowners millions – The Post

Inaccurate property evaluations may have cost homeowners millions

Scathing report lambastes tax authorities and Tax Ministry

August 21st, 2013 8:08 pm| by admin

A report by Rigsrevision, the national auditor’s office, submitted today has criticised tax authorities for massive shortcomings in the way they carry out property tax evaluations. Rigsrevision concluded that the inability of the Tax Ministry and Skat, the tax agency, to properly conduct evaluations leaves homeowners uncertain of whether their property has been correctly assessed. The bungled assessments may have caused some property owners to pay too much while others paid too little.

The auditors also said property owners have few opportunities for redress in cases of incorrect assessments.

Skat was singled in the report out for “not paying sufficient attention to certain aspects of evaluations, or in some cases skipping parts of assessments entirely”. Concerns about value assessments have been raised previously and the new report found that the estimates were wrong in three out of four assessments. The problems with tax assessments date back to 2003, a period spanning the terms of six tax ministers.  

Skat and the Tax Ministry took over property evaluations from local councils in 2003, and the process has been riddled with problems ever since. Skat invited Rigsrevision to help get a handle on assessments in 2011.

The report levelled its harshest criticisms at the years 2010 and 2011, when Kristian Jensen, Troels Lund Poulsen and Peter Christensen, three up-and-coming members of Venstre, served as tax ministers. Jensen is himself now a member of the Public Accounts Committee, which received the report. 

The criticism is the latest in a series of black marks against the tax authorities who in June were hit with a damning report about their handling of tax fraud cases, many of which were subsequently dropped.

In 2012, Skat collected 38 billion kroner in property taxes.