Proposed land tax called back for 'review': Thai finance minister

Proposed land tax called back for 'review': Thai finance minister
Finance minister, Mr Apisak Tantivorawong.
PHOTO: The Nation/ANN

THE LAND and building tax, which had been on its way to the Cabinet for approval before the recent reshuffle, will be called back for a further review by the Finance Ministry and the revamped Council of Economic Ministers, the newly-appointed finance minister said yesterday during his first day on the job.

Apisak Tantivorawong said "many processes and details" could be revised, but he did not elaborate.

His predecessor, Sommai Phasee, said last week that he and former deputy prime minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula had signed off on the draft bill before the reshuffle and it had been waiting for Cabinet approval.

Before the reshuffle, the previous Council of Economic Ministers had managed to push through the inheritance tax while maintaining the value-added tax at 7 per cent for another year, but the fate of the land and building tax will now be determined by the new economic team.

According to the draft bill, if nothing significant changes, land for agricultural purposes will be subject to a maximum 0.25-per-cent tax, residential property to 0.5 per cent and commercial property to 2 per cent.

Idle or vacant land will be charged at a progressive rate every three years up to 2 per cent of appraised value.

The grace period for enforcement has been set at two years.

This tax will replace the existing land and household tax and municipal tax.

The maximum rates still stand under the draft bill, but the real tax collected may be lower than the maximum.

After the grace period, the real-estate tax will be gradually implemented. In the third year, taxpayers will pay only 50 per cent of the required tax from the act, and in the fourth year, only 75 per cent - unless there are major revisions.

Meanwhile, Apisak said new stimulus measures to help the grassroots economy would be sent for Cabinet approval shortly. He was again short on details, except to say the stimulus "will not be in the form of a cash handout".

"Farmers are not the only group that is suffering from the economic slowdown, as there are low-income earners in the capital that are suffering also," he said.

The measure "should be able to support the economy from slowing down any further" and it will be introduced via state banks' mechanisms within a month, the new minister said.

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