Vacant villas should be taxed, expert suggests
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Monday, 13 June 2011
Statistics from the Ministry of Construction show only around 1,800 out of nearly 2,700 villas are in use in Hanoi, while the remainders are abandoned. In an interview with Dau Tu Tai Chinh Newspaper, property expert Dang Hung Vo said the issue can be curb by taxes.

Dau Tu Tai Chinh Newspaper: The Ministry of Construction has proposed to tax vacant villas at the rate, which is based on the time that they are left unused.

For example, the tax rate on those which have been left abandoned for around three months and one year will be 5 percent and 10 percent of their value respectively. What is your opinion about the recommendation?

Dang Hung Vo: I agree that tax will be the best solution for the problem. Some villas have been left untouched for five to seven years and become dens of social evils. Thus owners of those places should be heavily taxed as they wasted lands.

The government should set up a law or regulation on vacant house tax.

There are opinions noticing that the issue remained unsolved as the villa owners have a right to abandon their properties. Is it correct?

Lands are properties of people in the country and those villas are properties built on lands. Even at developed countries, property owners are required to use lands efficiently. Vietnam's land fund is very limited, so we have to use them appropriately.

Some people believe that they can do whatever they want on the lands that they buy, but that is incorrect.

Many others also blamed the frozen property market for struggling villas sales, so they said the tax on abandoned properties was inappropriate.

However, I think they are actually speculating on their villas. I just want to tell them that the government helps them earn billions of dong from the property sales, so why can they forget their duty to the country's resource.

Does the property speculation come from the government's insufficient policies on housing and property market management?

I always support the tax solution, which can tame the speculation. However, the current property tax rates have made no impact on speculators although they were pushed higher than other years'.

The speculation still increases on low taxes and significantly high profit margins. Thus tax is the most adequate solution for the issue. The more houses you buy, the more taxation you pay.

We need policies, which can force owners of vacant lands to either live or lease their properties, not to leave their villas abandoned.
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