PracticePeople In PracticeConspiracy of silence.

Conspiracy of silence.

It was refreshing to see an article advocating the merits of substituting land value taxes (LVT) for taxes on enterprise. (Perverse tax system needs reform, page 22, 31 May). One wonders whether there is a conspiracy of silence!

As an economist I have studied this topic for over 40 years, and have rarely seen much more of a mention of the tax in economics textbooks (even those specialising in fiscal studies), let alone journals. Yet I have yet to find published anywhere valid criticism of the tax.

Indeed, all the textbooks acknowledge the land value tax cannot be passed on, and is wholly borne by the owner, as LVT is offset by a reduction in land prices and rents. The example cited in your article referring to Hong Kong, surely demonstrates the benefits of collecting public revenue from land values, rather than from taxes on effort.

When one also considers the ethical case for collecting values created by the community rather than the individual owner, and the practical problems of tax avoidance and evasion of other taxes, it is now time for serious consideration of land value taxation.

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