IMI. Equal houses can pay different taxes | Article published in Diário de Notícias, 04 August 2016.

IMI. Equal houses can pay different tax

Owners and appraisers warn of subjective criteria when evaluating real estate

João Fonseca is an expert real estate appraiser and has difficulty understanding the new weight that the view and sun exposure of a house will have, from now on, in the calculation of the municipal property tax. “We are encouraged to build houses in the south-west for energy reasons, now we will be penalized for doing things well?”, Asked DN / Dinheiro Vivo. The doubt is repeated on the side of the owners and António Frias Marques fears that almost no one will escape a tax increase, especially now that the chambers, to which the revenue from this tax reverts, will be able to ask for real estate revaluations when they think that the value is out of adjustment. “Let us be under no illusions, the new rules will lead to a general increase in the tax and serve the purpose of increasing revenue”, defends the president of the National Association of Owners (ANP).

At issue is the decree that puts in place a measure of the State Budget that gives a new weight to the quality and comfort of a home. So far, the coefficient of relative location and operability – one of the 13 items that help to determine the quality of a property – was worth 5%, but with the change it is now worth 20%, giving more value to factors such as light or view of a house.

“I think it is an exaggerated increase,” says João Fonseca, an expert appraiser contacted by DN / Dinheiro Vivo, recalling that making an analysis of sun exposure or the view of a house “is in fact subjective” and depends a lot on “the expert’s good sense” . At the limit, says the expert, “two identical apartments” can pay different taxes if they have different assessments.

This is one of the biggest criticisms made by the owners of the new diploma. Luís Menezes Leitão even says that the coefficient of relative location and operability “is the most subjective indicator of the entire IMI calculation. The formula, adds the president of the Lisbon Association of Owners, “has less and less to do with the market value of the property”.

“We know that after all the calculation is done, this coefficient will have a relative value, but we are facing an increase of 15%” that will affect especially the middle and upper-middle class, since the exemptions “were extended to protect those with income lower ”during the last legislature, recalls, in turn, António Frias Marques, president of the National Association of Owners, for whom the measure that came into force on Tuesday serves only one purpose: to increase the revenue from this tax that is already worth more than 60% of the chamber’s direct revenues.

The government rejects the purpose and ensures that this new quantification of the items that measure the comfort of a property “will always be a reduced impact”, considering that equity is increased: “Our objective, in the first place, was to introduce greater fiscal justice, allowing to reflect more faithfully the price variations that the real properties actually have ”, said the Secretary of State for Tax Affairs, Fernando Rocha Andrade to SIC adding that the new rule comes“ to introduce some simplicity and uniformity, because the weight that we are introducing in the calculating the value of housing is the same as that already in force in trade and services, where it has worked without major problems ”.

For those who evaluate the houses, however, an opportunity to “define the criteria” that should guide the evaluations was lost. “The government limited itself to replacing one table with another”, stresses João Fonseca, clarifying that the expert’s work would be more “safeguarded” if the committee of experts providing assistance to finance defined the rules to be followed.

Criticism is far from over here. In the decree that entered into force this Tuesday, the increase of 5% attributed to the “use of environmentally sustainable techniques, active or passive” is no longer observed, which, for António Frias Marques, constitutes yet another shock with the rules encouraged so far. “Among these environmentally sustainable techniques were incentives, for example, to solar panels”, underlines the president of the ANP.