Thu, Jul 14, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Speculation slows under luxury tax, ministry says

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter

The Ministry of Finance said yesterday the implementation of the luxury tax has helped slow speculative transactions in the real-estate market, although revenues from the new levy on property transactions have only added NT$11.55 million (US$399,600) to the nation’s coffers as of July 7.

Revenues from the luxury tax, also known as the selective goods and services sales tax, totaled NT$128.67 million as of the end of last month, after the levy was introduced on June 1, ministry data showed. Most of the revenues came from the levy on imported luxury goods, including cars and furniture, which brought in a total of NT$127.32 million as of the end of last month, data showed.

In comparison, tax revenues from short-term speculative property transactions were relatively low, at only NT$1.35 million from six cases as of the end of last month, but increased to NT$11.55 million from 27 cases as of July 7, the ministry said.

“The low number indicates the tax has effectively slowed short-term property transactions,” said a ministry official, who preferred to remain anonymous.

A 45-day grace period for property sellers to declare transactions that should be subject to the tax is likely one reason for the low revenue last month, the official said.

Last month’s luxury tax revenue from the Taipei National Tax Administration was only NT$541,557 from four cases — the lowest level among the nation’s tax administrations, data showed.

“These cases in Taipei were mainly small plots of land such as single parking spots instead of normal houses, providing more evidence that speculators have held off on selling high-value properties because of the levy,” the official said.

Falling revenue last month from the land value increment tax also indicated the housing market may be slowing, with the total amount declining 13.46 percent from a month earlier to NT$5.9 billion, according to the statistics department’s data.

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