Stamp Duty on property purchases is a pretty hideous tax. It’s a levy on aspiration and a tax on the South East in particular with its higher house prices.
Once, it was (almost) palatable at a flat 1% on all home purchases. And then, in 1997, Gordon Brown as chancellor made it one of his first tasks to increase it to 3% above £250,001 and 4% for all transactiosn above £500,001. Taxing the ‘rich’ started early in the new Labour Government.
But now, in a suggestion that is justified by its intention to ‘balance the market’, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has suggested that stamp duty be replaced by an annual property tax. A true and regular burden on home ownership and not just a one off swipe on purchase. Something from feudal times no less.
The obvious motive is to raise more tax revenue from a population that occassionally, as now, loses its appetite for moving home and thus pays less in transactional property tax. But a yearly monetary grab of all home owners would get around that, as the OECD sees it. Like Council Tax does in fact. It’s blunt and indiscriminate.
Let us hope that the politicians ignore the OECD’s call to punish those that have worked hard to own their own properties. Our homes are not a cash cow to be raided by Governments when their predecessors are found to have wasted all the other tax pounds that they fleeced us for previously.
And in any case most would agree that the tax payer, having bailed out the banks for their unguarded and irresponsible gambles, should come some way after the banks and bankers in turning out their pockets once again.