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New housing taxes could affect market growth: realty firm

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Local media reported that the Ministry of Finance (MOF) will soon begin a gradual shift to levying real estate taxes based on real property transaction prices, to which Shining Group (鄉林) Chairman Lai Cheng-i (賴正鎰) responded that such a policy would hurt growth momentum in the nation's housing market.

Even though the government at the moment plans to carry out the new policy for luxury housing units, Lai said that without educating people in advance, many may be confused by the policy and mistakenly think that it applies to all types of housing units.

Lai said that as far as he knows, public housing prices revealed by local governments since the New Year have been raised to near the market price, noting that some may be worried about paying a higher tax in accordance with the policy, and as a result decided not to trade houses for the time being.

Lai went on to say that the majority of transactions in realty is not among luxury housing units, and stressed that the levying of taxes based on real trading prices would pressure those who wish to buy houses to live in themselves, thereby influencing the real estate market.

The MOF said that according to Income Tax Act, citizens should declare incomes from housing transactions based on real trading prices, noting that the MOF will levy income taxes based on a fixed ratio set by the ministry only when the declarer cannot offer evidence of the real trading prices in his or her transactions.

The MOF is reportedly taking real trading prices as references in calculating the 2013 housing income tax standard. The housing income tax standard varies every year based on the nation's real estate market performance, and differs in every city.

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