Many American Jews are about to pay more taxes for their Jerusalem vacation apartments and villas – a lot more. Owners of these so-called “ghost” apartments, left vacant most of the year, will now have to pay double arnona (municipal taxes).
Own A Vacation Home In Jerusalem? If So, Your Taxes Just Doubled
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Many American Jews are about to pay more taxes for their Jerusalem vacation apartments and villas – a lot more.
Owners of these so-called “ghost” apartments, left vacant most of the year, will now have to pay double arnona (municipal taxes), Ha’aretz reported. The steep increase is meant to force the owners to rent out the apartments, which would ease the city’s housing shortage.
The new tax rate for ghost apartments is 223.56 shekels ($57.30) per square meter, double the current top tax rate.
“Adding thousands of ghost apartments to the market will dramatically increase the supply of homes for rent to young people and bring down rental costs in the city,” Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, said.
According to national government estimates, Jerusalem has approximately 3,500 of these ghost apartments, and entire blocks of apartment buildings and villas look like ghost towns for much of the year as a result.
The real estate sector was sharply critical of the move, noting that the city had encouraged the construction of these luxury apartments and villas knowing the buyers would almost all be foreigners who would occupy them only several weeks each year.
“It’s a populist step that will only hurt foreign residents who bought apartments in Jerusalem, pay the full arnona [tax] rate now and barely use any city services, so they’re subsidizing local residents,” Oren Cohen of Century 21’s Jerusalem office reportedly said.