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Cath Everett

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‘Mansion tax’ to return?

The Deputy Prime Minister has intimated that plans to axe the 50p rate of income tax will be funded by a modified version of the Liberal Democrats’ controversial ‘mansion tax’.
Chancellor George Osborne had already made it clear that he intends to scrap the 50p top rate of income tax, which is currently paid by people earning more than £150,000, during the lifetime of this Parliament, but has so far failed to clarify how he would finance such a move.
But Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, told the Financial Times yesterday that any cuts in high income taxes would be accompanied by action to increase taxes on wealth, specifically on "very, very high value property".
The measures would not be introduced until the economy recovered more and those on lower middle incomes were "breathing more easily", he said.
But Clegg denied that the changes would amount to a rebirth of the ‘mansion tax’ that was promised before the general election. The Lib Dems dropped their election pledge to place a levy of 1% on homes worth more than £1 million during negotiations with the Conservatives about forming the coalition government after having been accused of failing to think it through properly.
The proposed new property tax "could be a range of things: the way the council tax system is structured; the way stamp duty is structured," Clegg said, adding that tax evasion and avoidance was currently widespread in relation to very high value properties, with one dodge including buying property through companies to avoid normal stamp duty rates.
The confirmation of changes to taxation on high-value homes followed similar hints dropped by Business Secretary Vince Cable over the weekend, but is likely to draw the wrath of Conservative backbenchers known to be hostile to such plans.

One Response

  1. Top end houses currently subsidised by the bottom ….

    ‘Mansion Tax’ is always a good emotive term but just lets look at the current rating system

    • Out of date – necessity to pro-rate todays house price back to 1991
    • Rating bands are capped at band H – 1991 over £320,000

    Therefore those with high value houses currently have their rates ‘capped’ and are paying disproportionatly low rates in respect of value of their property – essentially they are either getting a bargain or being subsidised by those properties of lesser value. Why is this considered a sensible of equitable approach?

    And the answer is:

    For domestic houses have a simple solution (of course exceptions are possible) by imposing a single percentage rate over the entire country based upon either the last sale or probate value recorded at the land registry


    Assume rates of 0.0025% (1/4 of a percent) which would result in a very simple calculation

    • £100,000 property = £250 rates
    • £500,000 property = £1,250 rates
    • £1,000,000 property = £2,500 rates
    • £10,000,000 property = £25,000 rates

    There are many benefits to ths approach – not least

    • Equitable all round – everyone pays the same proportion of the value of their house
    • Efficiency of calculation and cost effective collection
    • Automatic revaluation on sale

    etc ….

    So in theory the concept is correct but the mecahnics put forward by the politicians are flawed – in any event it needs to be a permanent solution and not just a ‘one off’ until things are sorted out


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