TaxCorporate TaxBring the house down

Bring the house down

The joy of the tax system, as the chancellor well knows, is that you can pretty much find any bit of it to fiddle with in order to irritate anyone who you dislike or is out of favour

Don’t like private equity? Let’s look at debt and equity arrangements. Want
to screw multi-nationals? Launch an offensive on controlled foreign companies.

My current bugbear is people whingeing about property prices. People moaning
that they can’t get on the property ladder.

It’s hardly the greatest tragedy on earth, but to listen to them you’d think
there had been a death in the family. Since when was anyone owed a house? I
speak as someone making tentative moves to try and buy a flat in London (I
should add).

My solution to this great social problem, to return to tax for a second, is
as follows: stick Stamp Duty up to something truly unaffordable – 10% or 15% –
then those houses really would be out of reach.

And while the chancellor is about it, he should go the whole hog and reform
the way in which the rates work (so 0% should be charged on the first £125,000
no matter how expensive the property is).

On second thoughts, that might be a useful and rational reform. As we all
know, that’s not what the tax system is for.

Alex Hawkes is news editor on Accountancy Age

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