Govt told to delay land tax

Govt told to delay land tax

Local authorites not prepared, says MP

The government is being urged to delay the implementation of a new land and buildings tax due to come into force on Wednesday to give local authorities and taxpayers more time to prepare.

Future Forward party-list MP Sirikanya Tansakun, who also chairs the House committee on economic development, said local officials are not ready for the new property tax regime.

She said even the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, which is supposed to be ready for the new law, is not fully equipped to handle large numbers of property owners who wish to update their assets at district offices.

Ms Sirikanya said the government and opposition MPs discussed the issue and some agreed that the new land and building tax law should be put on hold by the means of an executive decree.

After the new year holiday, the Pheu Thai Party is likely to submit a motion to the House to discuss the proposal, she said.

It is reported that the new rules sent many land and property owners into a panic after they received letters from local administrative organisations and district offices informing them of their property type ahead of the enforcement of the new legislation.

She also criticised the government for failing to help local authorities prepare.

Under the 2020 budget bill which is being scrutinised in the House, local administrative bodies' incomes are estimated at 115 billion baht with 30-40 billion baht expected to come from the land and building tax.

"I think the enforcement of the law should be put on hold. But it may affect incomes of local organisations and their revenue may not meet the target. How will the government compensate them?" she said.

Fiscal Policy Office director Lawan Saengsanit insisted on Monday the new property tax regime will come into effect tomorrow as planned.

He admitted that some hiccups are likely because the law is new, but suggested some people might see their taxes go down.

Under the new law, tax is applied to four types of land -- residences, farmland, commercial areas and undeveloped land -- and rates vary depending on how the property is used.

It is also the first time that residential property is being taxed although a generous exemption threshold will apply.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said on Monday the first payment is being delayed as the Finance Ministry and the Interior Ministry look into certain issues which will be announced later.

He insisted the law is designed to improve tax collection efficiency and stressed that people whose property is valued below 50 million baht need not worry.

"Those who have low incomes and few assets won't have to pay. Those who have money will have to, but there is a generous exemption."

He said local bodies will be sending letters to people informing them of the new tax rates throughout March.

According to the new tax structure, land and buildings used for residential purposes with appraisal prices of up to 50 million baht are tax-exempt, those valued at 50-75 million baht are taxed at 0.03%, properties worth 75-100 million baht are taxed at 0.05%, and those appraised at more than 100 million baht at 0.1%.

If owners have more than one house, subsequent residences up to 50 million baht in value are subject to a 0.02% tax, and the same rate as principal homes is applied to residences worth more than that.

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