Pheu Thai MP pushes for repeal of land tax

Pheu Thai MP pushes for repeal of land tax

The controversial law on land and building tax should be killed and the matter reviewed again from top to bottom, a house committee chairman says.

Chawalit Wichayasut, chairman of the House committee on reform and legislative improvements, proposed a separate act be drafted and implemented to repeal the law on land and building tax, which went into effect on Jan 1.

The law has sparked an outcry from many quarters, who argue it will impose higher taxes on people who own more than one house, condo or land.

Mr Chawalit also claimed the law could also substantially cut taxes paid for industrial land. For instance, the Pheu Thai MP said, the 60 million baht paid annually by the Laem Chabang industrial estate could be brought down to 3 million baht a year.

He also said public organisations that have been exempted from land tax under the law have rented their land out to commercial firms, raising the question whether these firms will have to pay the tax instead.

Mr Chawalit said the law has to be repealed because it is flawed, adding parliament should draft a completely new one.

"Amending the law will not be enough because it has far-reaching ramifications," the MP said.

Earlier, critics urged the cabinet to pass an executive decree suspending the new law to stem damages to homeowners.

Mr Chawalit, meanwhile, said his committee will meet the Finance Ministry to discuss the law's finer details.

Separately, Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana reiterated the government's decision to push ahead with the law, denying it will benefit large industries and companies at the expense of homeowners.

Mr Uttama said the finance and interior ministries will work together to lay down proper taxation procedures, adding "the enforcement of the law will be smooth". The minister said the taxation steps would be made clearer to prevent confusion.

Despite the law already being in effect, Thais have until the end of March to clarify how many houses or plots of land they use as a residence, rent out or leave unoccupied.

This clarification will help homeowners arrive at the correct rate of tax they will have to pay, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said.

Gen Anupong said homeowners would be formally notified of the status of their land and/or homes, along with written explanation about the criteria used in assessing he taxes.

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