Saudi Gazette – Authorities will impose tax on white land in Makkah and Madinah from Dec. 14 (Rabi Al-Awwal 1438H), an official of land tax program at the Housing Ministry has said.

Muhammad Al-Mudaiheem was quoted by Al-Hayat Arabic daily as saying that the total area of white land in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam is estimated at 261 million sq. meters.

He said the tax would be implemented later on in other populated cities. “We’ll punish real estate owners who have failed to register their white land with the Housing Ministry,” he said, adding that the punishment (2.5 percent of the land value) would be announced shortly.

“We have surveyed all lands in the Kingdom, not only the white land in residential areas,” Al-Mudaiheem said. However, he said the government has not yet estimated its value. The ministry had previously announced its plan to implement the tax on white land in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam. The owner should register the land by logging onto the site: lands.housing.sa.

“The owner should provide his personal information, which will be verified on the basis of data available on the National Information Center,” the official explained. After that a person can register his land or the land of others. Those who register land for others should produce a power of attorney. Land of companies can be registered by a member of the company’s board of directors.

Information in the deed can be uploaded onto the system electronically or by hand by attaching a copy of the deed. It would be followed by uploading of cadastral coordinates, prepared and endorsed by an engineering firm. Owner can upload documents that prove that his land is not taxable.

Speaking about white land in Riyadh region, Al-Mudaiheem said it is estimated at 90 million sq. meters from a total of 3,115 sq. km of land in the region. White land in Jeddah is estimated at 160 million sq. meters from a total area of 3,534 sq. km.

In Dammam, the ministry is targeting 11 million sq. km from a total area of 1,181 sq. km. “We are targeting the land that is not developed within residential areas of the cities,” the official was quoted as saying. “The ministry will deal with white land on the basis of approved documents,” he added.

Al-Mudaiheem believed that a gradual implementation of tax would help avoid mistakes and ensure better performance. “Since no tax has been implemented in the past to regulate the market, gradual implementation is the best option,” he added.

He said customers would be able to pay fines electronically and this goes in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. He believed that taxation on white land would help make available more developed land for constructing homes and other buildings at suitable rates in various parts of the Kingdom.

“The tax will put an end to monopoly of land and achieve a balance between demand and supply. It will enable citizens to have suitable housing,” he said. “Our aim is to provide housing to all citizens with multiple options ensuring high quality and suitable prices,” he pointed out.

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