Lee offers temporary property tax relief for several homeowners

SEOUL / GIMCHEON, South Korea, 12 Dec. (Yonhap) – Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), on Sunday proposed temporary relief in property taxes for several homeowners in an attempt to allay public discontent ahead of the presidential election next year.

Lee said he was in talks with the DP over his idea that calls for a one-year delay in implementing capital gains taxes on real estate transactions for several homeowners.

“My idea is to get several homeowners to sell their homes,” Lee told reporters in Gimcheon, 188 kilometers south of Seoul.

The government imposed heavier property tax burdens on several homeowners in certain designated areas as it sharply increased the capital gains tax rate on home sales for these individuals from June after a period of one year grace.

The Moon Jae-in administration unveiled a package of measures to lower house prices, including tax hikes and tighter lending rules. Public dissatisfaction with housing policy has grown amid increasing fiscal pressure.

Lee also suggested that the party might consider relaxing the so-called comprehensive property tax for certain multiple-owner cases.

The number of people subject to comprehensive property tax rose 42% this year from the previous year amid soaring house prices and tax rate hikes.

The tax is levied on homeowners who own multiple homes with a total state estimated value of over 600 million won (US $ 507,600). For homeowners, the tax base was increased to 1.1 billion won from the previous 900 million won.

The finance ministry has opposed easing taxes on real estate-related capital gains for several homeowners, saying the move could undermine government housing policy and undermine tax fairness.

South Korea on Wednesday began easing capital gains taxes on real estate sales for owners of single-family homes.


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