Political parties talk real estate tax in Latvia

News of the coming rise in cadastral values has upset many, as it also means a rise in real estate tax. New apartments in Riga are one of the categories for which the cadastral value will grow the most in 2022. As a result, several parties are promising various tax incentives in advance of the Riga City Council emergency elections, Latvian Television reported August 3.

Various discounts can be determined for municipal real estate tax, and 10 out of 15 political parties have mentioned changes to the tax policy. Everyone promises to cut the tax, but the specifics differ.

For example, the Alternative party, the National Alliance and the Latvian Association of Regions have made a general promise to reduce the tax, but nothing has been explained in detail.

A similar promise is also made in the Union of Greens and Farmers' program: to develop a real estate tax discount program for all Riga inhabitants.

New Unity, is a little more specific, promising to cut real estate tax payments on private land by a third .

New Unity is also the only party that has indicated how the tax will be spent. The entire amount will be invested in infrastructure, and a quarter will go directly to the neighborhood that paid the tax to allow inhabitants themselves decide on its use.

Other parties promise different discounts for primary housing.

For example, New Harmony promises that the primary (only) housing will not be taxed at all, while the Center party promises a 90% discount.  while United for Latvia and the National Union Justice (Taisnīgums) generally promise substantial tax incentives for only housing.

A different offer is made by the Latvian Russian Union, which promises to exempt the first 50 square metres of living area, while the New Conservative Party proposes to abolish the tax on pensioners' housing of up to EUR 100 000 with land worth up to EUR 10 000.

When asked about the opportunities of municipalities in real estate tax policy, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (VARAM) confirmed that local governments could identify different population groups for which to grant discounts. However, the tax cannot be totally abolished, with a maximum discount of 90%. In Jurmala, for example, this discount applies to all residents declared in the city.

But the law does not provide for the possibility of reducing or abolishing the tax on the only housing, or of imposing a non-taxable minimum.

15 political forces, who have submitted their lists of candidates, have applied for the Riga City Council's emergency elections.

In February this year, the Latvian Saeima voted to dismiss the Riga City Council. The extraordinary elections were originally planned for April but following the state of emergency the date was changed several times until it was set to August 29.

LSM already reported promises made in party programs regarding Riga public transportation. Full programs can be read in Latvian on the Central Election Commission website.

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Politics
Politics