26 January 2012

Time to end the CGT loophole

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) was the focus of the first disagreement between the coalition in the run up to George Osborne's first budget in 2010. Lib Dems were committed to increasing its rate to that of the individual's income tax and Conservatives wanted it kept at the 18% it was reduced to by Gordon Brown.

In the end a compromise was reached. A new top rate of 28% was introduced following Treasury advice that this would maximise tax take.

But the marginal rate of CGT isn't really the issue. For those people investing in property there is something called 'Principle Residence Relief' which allows them to disregard the three years capital gain before a sale - provided the property has been their principle residence at some point during their ownership.

It seems perfectly reasonable to discount the tax liability based on the time a person has actually spent in their property - but to give them an extra three years bonus is just a hidden bung for property investors.

It means you can buy a property - live in it for a few months while renovating it - let it out for three years, sell it and not pay a penny CGT despite the property increasing in value by tens of thousands of pounds.

Given the state of the country's finances and the general under taxation of property, ending this tax relief would seem a good way to raise revenue from people who can afford it and rebalance taxes a little bit further away from those on low incomes and onto property speculation.

Oh and you may have guessed I have been doing my tax return! (Hence the lack of posting)...

1 comment:

  1. I strongly disagree with the idea of requiring funds to report their portfolios at a high frequency. If you make them do this, you are forcing them to reveal their presumably superior information. If you do this, you reduce the value of the information, and thus drive out of the open ended fund market the individuals willing to sell to the small investor.

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