HOW THE WORK IS ORGANIZED AND ADMINISTERED
fundamental principle of the organization is democracy. In every town or
parish, or district of a town or a parish, two valuers are elected by the
town council or parish council by proportional representation. The valuers
are elected for a period of six years. These valuers, guided by a chairman
who is nominated by the Government and has under his control a number (generally
10 to 15) of local valuation districts, form a committee which, within their
district, has to make the valuations and the valuation maps. When the valuation
is completed, the valuation roll is open for public inspection and the owners
as well as the parish or town council have a right to make appeals against
the valuation. Appeals are decided by a county valuation board consisting
of all the chairmen of the local valuation committees in the county. The
owners have the right to appeal against the assessment of the property
of others as well as of their own.
The county board not only has to consider
appeals but in general has to revise and correct the assessments of the
local valuation committees.
The valuation work is administered by
the Directorate of Assessments, assisted and controlled by the Board of
Assessments. It is sub-divided into a department for personal taxation (e.g.,
income tax) and a department for the valuation of real estate. The Board
of Assessments is partly nominated by the Government and partly elected
by Parliament on a system of proportional representation. The Directorate
of Assessments has no power to make any assessment or to alter an assessment
made by a County Board, but the Board of Assessments can, on the recommendation
of the Directorate of Assessments, alter the assessments made by the County
Boards or require the County Boards to make the necessary alterations. All
decisions and alterations made by the County Boards or by the Board of Assessments
can be appealed against before the Taxation Court whose decisions are final
in the matter of valuation.
In the Metropolis and the largest provincial
boroughs there is no county valuation board, but the local boards are
in direct touch with the Directorate of Assessments.
This democratic organization, with its
great number of local valuation committees (and with a thorough knowledge
of their small districts) guided by county boards and the Directorate
of Assessments, assures that there is the closest possible contact between
the citizens and the valuation authorities, which is of extraordinary importance
for the work of valuation and makes it possible to finish a valuation for
the whole country in the course of one year. It is done by men who have
all their private business and who undertake the valuation work in an honorary
capacity receiving only a very small fee. There are about 4,000 valuers
at work and the total cost of a general valuation before the war was not
more than £100,000 altogether, or about three to four shillings per
valuation. The cost of making the 1945 valuation was equivalent to about
£250,000 or seven shillings per valuation. This does not include the
administrative expenses of the Central Valuation Board.
PROCEDURE AND METHODS
valuation takes place every fifth year. In the interval between the general
valuations, special valuation is made when land is sub-divided, or when buildings
are erected or when there are structural alterations of more than 2,000 crowns
value, or in any case if the owner wishes. And a revaluation of the land
alone is made of such lands the value of which may be considered to have
increased by the laying out of railways, streets, roads, open spaces, etc.,
or for other special reasons.
To assist in the work of valuation, every
valuation board is supplied with a record of all the properties on the cadastre
in the district with particulars of the area of each, and a map of the
district which shows the position of each cadastral number; and, in the
case of agricultural land, the classification of its natural quality according
to the old estimation (the "Bonitering" or assessment for the "Hartkorn"
tax) of 1844, which continues to be of service to the valuers in many parts
of the country.
the general valuation begins, valuers are also supplied with the particulars
of all the transactions in land within their districts during the past year,
purchasers being required to make return of these particulars to the Central
On the occasion of every valuation the
owner has a return to fill up which notifies him of the cadastral number
of the property and the area as it is stated in the records of the valuation
board, and the owner is requested to give all necessary information with
regard to his property, such as area, description and area of buildings,
amount of annual rent, purchase money paid for the property or part of it
within the last 20 years, the mortgages on it and the like. An opportunity
is also given to the owner to state what in his opinion is the selling value
of his property and of his land apart from improvements and he is also reminded
of his right to claim allowance for permanent improvements.
If the information given by the owner
is not sufficient, the valuers have an unlimited right to require information
from official authorities and from banks, loan societies, insurance companies
and the like.
THE LAND REGISTRY
this connection it should be stated that every sub-division and every aggregation
of land has to be officially approved and registered, and every transfer
of property, mortgage right or other private claim that is secured upon fixed
property must, in order to enjoy the full protection of the law, be entered
in the property register which is accessible to the public; and the creation
of this right or claim is published in the Government Gazette.
Uncertainty with regard to the boundaries
of a property, the conditions attaching to it, or the private rights or
claims upon it is very rare: and such information in regard to any property
can easily be obtained.
ASSESSMENTS IN COUNTRY AND TOWN
any single property is assessed the general level of valuations in the district
is fixed. In the rural districts this is usually done by the county valuation
board by carefully valuing a few properties in each parish to ensure a
uniform valuation throughout the county. The local valuation committee,
guided by its chairman, who is himself a member of the county valuation
board, then has to assess every single property by the standard of these
representative valuations set by the county valuation board.
For the towns the valuation starts with
street valuations: the value per square metre of a lot of 30 metres deep
is assessed in every street or part a street; but in the greater part of
Copenhagen 20 metres is taken as the normal depth. In this work the valuers
refer for guidance to sales of vacant land (if any), sales of land with
buildings (having due regard to existing building values), and especially
to normal rents in different streets. When building values are equal, then
the difference in selling value of properties or differences in normal rent
received will give a more or less accurate expression to a difference in land
value. When these street values have been established the value of every single
parcel of land is assessed. By this work the valuers usually make use of
a depth-table showing the relative value per square metre for different depths.
This depth table is very similar to that used in several American cities,
though it is based on our own experience. The value of corner-lots will generally
be computed in accordance with some general rule established beforehand on
the basis of experience.
As a matter of course, the valuations
that one arrives at by using as an aid such valuation tables should always
be confirmed by looking at the valuation as a whole, whereby attention can
be paid to the special conditions that might attach to any individual property.
LAND VALUE MAPS
the towns, assessed "street prices" are entered on the valuation map of
the district; and in the country districts there is entered on the district
valuation map the assessment per hectare for every separately assessed piece
of land. By this means the Valuation Authorities can most easily get a general
survey of the assessments and also the facility easily to judge that the
valuations are correct and in proper harmony. By entering also the particulars
of any sale of vacant land, especially of building ground, it is possible
to see how or whether the valuations are in agreement with the selling prices.
By these uses, the land valuation maps are therefore of considerable assistance
in the valuation work in addition to the help that they afford for recognizing
the position of each individual property. It is not too much to say that
a good land value map is an essential aid in making a valuation.
A copy of the land value maps is deposited
for public inspection together with the valuation roll so that the owners
also have the same easy facility of seeing whether the assessment of their
land is in keeping with the assessment of other properties. Moreover the
land value maps for the Metropolis and its suburban areas and for all the
provincial towns are printed and made available to the public.
RESULTS OF THE VALUATION
the valuation gives occasion for many complaints on the part of the owners
this shows that there has been something wrong with the work. On the other
hand one cannot conclude that the valuation is satisfactory if only few
bring forward complaints against the assessment, because a reason for this
might quite well be that the valuation as a whole is too low.
At the 1936 valuation the number of contested
assessments, of which, however, the greater part had reference to the valuation
of the improvements, was less than 2% of all the assessments, and only about
one-tenth of appeals that came before the county valuation boards had to
be carried through to the Central Board of Assessments.
If now it is asked how the valuations
agree with the market price, which should be the standard, there is some
difficulty in making the comparison so far as the land value assessment
is concerned, because most properties and certainly the most valuable sites
in the towns are built upon and as a rule are only sold together with the
It is easier to give an answer so far
as the valuation of land including improvements is concerned. As there is
a very close connection between land value and the total value at any rate
of agricultural properties where the land value makes up such a large part
of the total value, the following particulars are given to show how the
selling price of properties in 1937 compared with the assessments. These
are sales that took place after the general valuation and referred to altogether
17,000 built-upon properties that were sold. The average comparison is given
for these properties, grouped as follows:--
Selling price higher
than the valuation,
| Provincial boroughs
| Other country districts
| Larger properties
| Medium-sized properties
| Smaller properties
respect of the agricultural properties, the relatively great difference
between the selling price and the valuation of the land with improve-ments,
even for medium-sized properties, discloses some lack of uniformity in the
assessments in the different county valuation districts. The difference is
not so considerable as far as the land value assessment is concerned which
therefore on the average may be taken to lie nearer the market value than
does the valuation of land with improvements.
In the case of sites the selling price
and the valuation can be directly compared in the case of sites which before
being sold have been valued independently; such building lands are generally
situated on the outskirts of any building developments. Comparing the land
value as assessed at the valuation of 1936 and the purchase price of 2,000
building sites that were sold during 1937, the result was as follows:--
Purchase price higher
than the valuation,
|Suburb of metropolis
|Other country districts
assessment of the land value of built-upon properties cannot, in the nature
of the case, be directly tested by sales.
In this regard it should be observed
that during the years immediately before the valuation of 1936 there was
a considerable increase in the prices of land on the outskirts of the towns
where building development was going ahead. This increase (and it continued
for a time also after the valuation) was not fully taken into account in
the valuation. A part of the difference between the selling prices and the
valuation is due to minor improvements made, such as hedges and fruit trees,
and also to the fact that building sites are often paid for by small instalments.
Taken as a whole, the last valuation is a considerable improvement upon the
previous one both in respect of greater equality in the assessments all
over the country and of closer agreement with the market values of land.
Complete details are not yet available
(December, 1945) as to the relation between the 1945 assessment figures
and the market values of land; but it should be said that the sharp increase
in prices which took place during the war have not been fully taken into
account in the valuation, especially not with regard to small dwellings,
the prices of which have been much influenced by the housing shortage.