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The Rice Report - Underused Housing Tax

Notes: Owners of residential houses/units will be charged a 1% tax amount yearly on the properties value for any underused properties that are vacant more than 180 days of the year.



Introduction:

The issue of affordable housing has become a critical concern in many parts of the world, as more and more people struggle to find affordable places to live. In response, governments have implemented various policies aimed at addressing the problem. One such policy is the underhoused tax, which is designed to encourage property owners to rent out their underutilized living space.


What is Underhoused Tax?

An underhoused tax is a tax levied on property owners who are not using their homes to their full potential. Specifically, it targets homeowners who have spare rooms or empty units in their properties that could be rented out to others. The idea behind the tax is to encourage homeowners to rent out their underutilized space and increase the supply of affordable housing in the market.


How does Underhoused Tax work?

Underhoused tax works by imposing a tax on property owners who are deemed to be underutilizing their homes. The tax is then paid annually by the property owner and is used to fund affordable housing initiatives. The tax rate of the Underused Housing Tax is 1%. To calculate what you owe, multiply the value of the residential property by the 1% tax rate. Then multiply that result by your ownership percentage of the property.


Benefits of Underhoused Tax:

-Encourages Property Owners to Rent Out Spare Space: By imposing a tax on underutilized living space, property owners are incentivized to rent out their spare rooms or units. This can increase the supply of affordable housing in the market and help alleviate the housing crisis.

-Generates Revenue for Affordable Housing Initiatives: The revenue generated from the underhoused tax can be used to fund affordable housing initiatives, such as building new affordable housing units or providing rental assistance to low-income families.


Drawbacks & Penalties:

-There are significant penalties if you fail to file an Underused Housing Tax return when it is due. Affected owners who are individuals are subject to a minimum penalty of $5,000. Affected owners that are corporations are subject to a minimum penalty of $10,000.

-Difficult to Implement: Underhoused tax can be difficult to implement, as it requires a system for determining which properties are underutilized and calculating the tax accordingly.


Will This Address Root Causes of Housing Affordability?:

While underhoused tax can help increase the supply of affordable housing, it may not address the root causes of housing affordability, such as stagnant wages, rising housing costs, and a lack of affordable housing units.


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