Annual property taxes may soon change for high-rise apartments

In Japan, annual property taxes on apartments are based simply on the floor area and the size of the land ownership share underneath the building, with no consideration given to the height of the floor. This means that the owner of a 100 sqm apartment on the top floor of a high-rise would pay the same annual property taxes as the owner of a 100 sqm apartment on the ground or second floor of the building, despite both units having considerably different market values.

The government is looking at adjusting the tax calculation methods for apartments to allow for some consideration to be given to floor height. Although details have yet to be ironed out, current discussions suggest that the new tax methods may apply to brand-new apartment buildings over 60 meters tall (approx. 20 storeys and above).

A revision could result in property owners on higher floors having higher annual property taxes, while owners on lower floors having lower taxes. Since the tax value of the whole building will remain the same, any increase to the tax value for units on higher floors must be balanced with a decrease to units on lower floors.

The revisions to the tax code are still under discussion but could possibly be introduced as early as January 2018.

Sources:
NHK, October 24, 2016.
The Sankei Shimbun, October 22, 2016.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, October 22, 2016.