Property Tax could Harm Economy
The Government should reduce or discard taxes on vacant properties, say business leaders and chartered surveyors in the north of England.
The Empty Property Tax applies to commercial property, and is apparently delaying economic growth in the north.
Owners of an empty office or shop are not expected to pay tax for the first three months that it is vacant. After this period, they are required to pay the Empty Property Tax.
Often, owners do not have the finances to pay this tax.
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) conducted a survey of properties in England and Wales. It discovered that 68% of commercial buildings remain vacant for at least six months. They are hoping that these charges will be reconsidered.
The RICS believes that the tax leads landlords to opt out of refurbishing their properties, and can even sometimes demolish the building, rather than pay the unmanageable costs. New businesses can also turn to these measures, as they can struggle to find inexpensive properties.
Of surveyors in the North East, 90% think that the Empty Property Tax damages the economy in this area. This has negative consequences for town centres and general property values, including residential housing.
The RICS and business leaders are calling for the Government to lengthen the timeframe over which commercial landlords are exempt from the tax. Richard Wackett, a property consultant, says this would allow for “much-needed breathing space.”1