President Ma Announces Land Reformative Measures

President Ma Ying-jeou announced yesterday (Aug. 24) a number of land reformative measures, in order to realize land and residential justice, including compensation for land expropriation according to market prices and registration of realty transactions based on actual transaction prices.

Ma also instructed the Executive Yuan to dampen land speculation by levying two to five times of land price tax on hoarders of vacant land in municipalities with high realty prices.

Ma noted that those measures are meant to avoid disputes related to land expropriation and alleviate local people’s concern over sky-high realty prices, so as to materialize the justice of “land, residence, and taxation.” They will reinforce several previous measures having been adopted by the government, including the levy of luxury tax and the plan for the building of social residences.

The land reforms will be carried out via revision of related law, such as the revision of “statute for land expropriation,” whose draft has been approved by the Executive Yuan and will be forwarded to the Legislative Yuan for ratification soon.

Ma pointed out that in the future, land expropriation may comply with the principles of “public interest, necessity, and proportion,” and the government cannot expropriate farmland in specific agricultural areas, except for public-benefit purpose or major national construction projects.

In the latter cases, the government will compensate landlords according to market prices, which will be evaluated by municipal governments every six months.

Meanwhile, realty transactions will be registered according to actual transaction prices, which will help municipal governments narrow the gap between government-assessed current land value and market prices. Government-assessed current land value amounts to only 80% of market prices on average at present. The narrowing of the gap will lead to higher value increment tax for realty transactions, thereby helping improve the income gap.

(by Philip Liu)

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