The Tax and Customs Authority received requests from 20 municipalities to apply triple IMI rates to buildings considered vacant or in ruins. The amount of tax to be collected is for the year 2016 and will be settled in 2017.
Among the well-known municipalities are Porto, Covilhã, Lisbon, Cascais, Sintra and Almada. In other words, if you own a house in ruins, or because you have been living for more than a year, you will have to pay the increased IMI tax, the value of which will be three times what you would normally pay.
In addition to this penalty that triples the value of IMI, there is yet another clause in the IMI Code that provides for a penalty of only 30%, the choice between the two being optional and the responsibility of each municipality. The number of cameras that opted for this softer option far exceeds the 20 cameras mentioned.
The mayors justify this measure with the need to boost the housing market, thus contributing to the recovery and rehabilitation of vacant buildings, or in a state of ruin. I remember that, in addition, the same chambers have promoted the exemption or reduction of the IMI for this type of property, if the owners decide to carry out rehabilitation works or promote their lease.
This measure has been in the law for some years now, but only now has it become feasible because companies supplying electricity, water and gas have been forced to communicate to municipalities which contracts with too low consumption. After the properties in this situation are identified, there will be a prior hearing with the owners, before the property can be considered vacant and be penalized in the IMI rate.
For 2017, the OE defined for the normal rates - before any penalty - the maximum rate of 0.45% and the minimum rate of 0.3%. The choice of the exact value, within these limits, is the responsibility of each municipality.