Tax break for commercial buildings

Wani Roslan

A tax break has been granted to taxpayers of commercial buildings under the Municipal Boards, with consent from His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

The announcement was made by Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong during a press conference yesterday.
The minister said the measure is aimed at easing the financial burden of businesses that have been hit by the COVID-19 outbreak since March 9.

“This effort is an additional economic relief package that was previously announced by the Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II at press conferences on March 21, 28 and 30,” he said.

The minister added that the tax relief acts as an incentive for commercial building owners to waive or reduce the rental rates, to generate cash flow of owners and tenants, and to mitigate the adverse impact of tax arrears.

Among the conditions to qualify for the tax relief are: the property owner must slash the monthly rent by at least 10 per cent for a period of six months; the building must fall under the commercial category – business, industrial and special real estate such as hotels or fuel stations – and under residential category – home-based businesses such as day cares, tailor shops and grocery stores; tax relief for owners in arrears must have cleared at least 10 per cent of total arrears or submitted a written commitment on the payment of arrears; and owners must submit a complete document and description to relevant Municipal Departments.

The minister said the rate of tax relief is based on the amount of monthly rent reduction. Property owners who reduce their monthly rent by 10-14 per cent will be given a 20 per cent tax relief rate; 15-19 per cent reduction will receive a 35 per cent rate; and 20 per cent and above will be granted a 50 per cent rate. For property owners who have not granted a monthly rent reduction or offer a reduction of less than 10 per cent will receive no tax break.

The MoHA hopes that all property owners will be able to cooperate with the government in addressing the challenges faced by businesses amid the epidemic by reducing the rental rates of their properties.

Information on building tax payment can be obtained from the Municipal Department at 2232424 (ext 120), 7179900 or email to [email protected] for the Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Department; 3347300 or email to [email protected] for the Kuala Belait and Seria Municipal Department; and 4221009, 8117115 or email to [email protected] for the Tutong Municipal Department.

Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong during the press conference. PHOTO: RAHWANI ZAHARI