Property ownership and concentration of power

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/03/landowners-scotland-britain-feudal-highland-spring?CMP=twt_gu

The above article was published just before the chancellors Autumn Statement on Stamp Duty. So fear not George Osborne has addressed our concerns, throw away the mansion tax… Actually just a second…

When you realise that property isn’t bought and sold in simple one to one transactions we need to look a little closer as to whether stamp duty will itself address the concentration if property ownership within the hands of the few and foreign investment in property as another commodity to be bought and sold.

The devil is in the detail and as the attached shows there are simple mechanisms to avoid tax:

“when the time comes to sell the property. Rather than selling the property it is possible to sell the shares in the company thus transferring ownership of the property. This means that the new purchaser (and any future purchaser of the shares) pays stamp duty at 0.5 per cent ”

http://www.boodlehatfield.com/the-firm/articles/is-it-possible-to-avoid-stamp-duty-on-land-and-property.aspx

Until there is robust tax investigation, simplified tax rules and punitive enforcement of avoidance, residential housing will continue to be seen as another commodity to be bought and sold between companies.

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