The popular beachside resort area of Atami in Shizuoka levies a special tax on owners of holiday homes and resort apartments within the city. Called a “besso” tax (besso = holiday house), it is very similar to a municipal tax. This tax is only charged on properties in Atami City, and is not found anywhere else in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Who pays the tax?
The tax is applicable to owners of properties in the city who were not registered at the address of the property as of January 1 each year.
You can avoid the besso tax by changing your address to the property in Atami City, however, you will then be liable for the normal municipal tax charged by Atami to its residents.
If you are currently trying to sell your vacation property in Atami, you may be eligible for a besso tax exemption so long as you submit a copy of the appointment of a sales agent.
How is the tax calculated?
Building size (sqm) x ¥650 + ¥4400.
For example, a 80sqm house would have an annual besso tax bill of ¥56,400 (80 x ¥650 + ¥4400 = ¥56,400).
For apartments, the size is calculated not only by the interior space of your own apartment, but also your share of the building’s common areas. It is not possible to easily calculate this, so it is advisable to put aside a little extra each year to cover this tax. If you are buying a secondhand apartment, the seller may be able to tell you how much their tax was for the previous year.
Source: All About Inc., December 26, 2008.