Tax Declaration (TaxDEc) properties in Panglao, Bohol: What is it?
Tax declaration (TaxDec) properties are common in municipalities and provinces. Tax Declaration, as opposed to a certificate of title, is NOT a conclusive proof of ownership. A TaxDec merely represents that a person has been paying taxes for a certain parcel of land and, as such, has the preferential right to apply for title. A person who buys the TaxDec property then acquires such preferential right.
Considering the complex nature of these properties, below are just a few tips to avoid being scammed.
- Check the Tax Declaration. Almost always, the owner appearing on the TaxDec is already deceased, so you must do a background check of the person currently selling it. Is the seller an heir, and if yes, is he a lone heir or just one of the several? (you may check the death certificate of the deceased and birth certificates of the heirs)
If the seller is not an heir but a previous buyer, check the chain of documents on how he became the current owner of the property.
If on the TaxDec there appears a Administrator or Beneficial User, it is a good rule of thumb that you ask who he is, if he is still alive and his relationship to the owner.
The size of the property appearing in the TaxDec is not conclusive. You may want to compare the size with that of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) if there is already an existing cadastral map.
- Secure A&D Certification and Land Status from DENR. Only alienable and disposable (A&D) lands can be applied for title; hence getting an A&D certification already gives you an idea that the property can be titled.
The Land Status certification will let you check if someone has already applied a title for the property. If there is and he is NOT the seller of the property, then you should worry. If none, then it is okay because you will be the one to apply after purchase.
- Get a Court Clearance. Another way of titling the property is through court process. Hence, it is imperative to secure a court clearance to determine whether the property you intend to buy has not been applied judicially.
For a more exhaustive discussion, you may want to talk to a licensed broker or a lawyer.