Local governments to ease tax burden, support market

Staff writer

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 12

Taiwan’s local governments are likely to hold land values steady or a bit lower next year, compared with last year, hoping to ease landowners’ tax burden and support the property market, Chinese-language media said yesterday.

All local administrators are due to update assessed land prices before Jan. 1, as legal revisions increased the timing of adjustments from three to every two years, to reflect market volatility.

“There will not be drastic hikes this time, unlike last year when the average increase of values stood at 30 percent,” Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) said on Thursday.

Assessed land prices make up only 20.5 percent of actual market rates, suggesting there is room for upward adjustments as the market resumes an upturn and authorities narrow the gap to increase social fairness, market watchers said.

Taichung land authorities reportedly said on Thursday that they intend to freeze land values to reflect listless transactions this year, after last year’s record 38.25 percent hike, which was higher than the 30.3 percent increase in Taipei. Landlords have been charging higher rental rates for restaurants, department stores, hotels and other commercial establishments in popular locations of Taichung to offset the higher tax burden. The Taichung City Government is to reach a formal decision on the matter next month.

Taichung councilors have lent support to the policy stance, saying that property prices have been relatively flat in the municipality for two years, as the government’s real-price transaction data show.

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) reportedly said he is inclined to trim land values, in line with property price corrections in the municipality.

“We should take steps that truthfully reflect market directions,” he said on Thursday.

The Yilan County Government said it might decrease land values in keeping with market rates, while the Tainan City Government said it might raise land values for a few districts, while holding values in most areas unchanged.

Kaohsiung said it would aim for a modest increase to land values, and both Taipei and New Taipei City said they need to gather more information and data before forming an opinion.