Sunday, November 15, 2009

A tax on empty houses

The Tax Research blog has an interesting and important item, aimed at the UK but with potentially wider relevance. It starts by quoting an Observer story which says:

"Alistair Darling should levy a £5bn "empty property tax" on up to a million homes left vacant by absentee landlords, to help meet the costs of the financial crisis, trades unions will argue tomorrow."

and moves on to analyse it in more detail, with snippets such as this:

"evidence is available that many occupied and rented properties are now being registered through offshore, tax haven companies registered in locations such as the British Virgin Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and Switzerland. For all practical purposes it is almost impossible to determine who really owns these companies. The reality is that they could be owned by UK resident people who are hiding that fact by registering these properties in the names of tax havens companies."


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