There’s lots in the news this week about tax.
The Government have raised the threshold above which income tax is paid to £10,000. This, they claim, will take 2 million people out of paying tax altogether and mean less tax paid by 24 million earners. But, in contrast, is the controversial move to reduce the top rate levy from 50% to 45%. A tax break for millionaires as opposition MPs are stating.
All of this is against a backdrop of the so called ‘bedroom tax’ and the ‘granny tax’, albeit not really taxes at all.
A taxing time indeed.
But none more so that where property is concerned. And despite the contention that a healthy housing market means a healthy economy (as eMoov have long advocated and recently advised Government on), successive political administrations have increasingly used housing transactions as a sort of cash cow, a lucky dip of sorts. This has been to the detriment of market buoyancy, particularly of late when it has been needed most.
Take, for instance, stamp duty. A regressive tax that disincentivises purchasers of properties above £125,000 and more so above £250,000; £500,000 and, latterly, £1m and £2m.
In 1996 the stamp duty take was £1b at a time when the duty was 1% across the board. Since Brown and Osborne have had their way, the Treasury’s income from property sales was close to £7b at its peak in 2007/8. A 600% increase, according to HM Revenue figures.
And, of course, stamp duty is payable disproportionately in that it affects the same house in a different area differently based solely on variances in value from one place to another. A three bed semi in Hull may escape stamp duty whilst a three bed semi in Islington will attract a burden of maybe £100,000. The levy is entirely retrospective and penalises the entire value of the property in question as the threshold ‘steps’ up.
Council Tax too, is a property tax. It may go toward local public services however it is based on housing wealth regardless of income and without much of a hat tip to consumption per capita.
But there is one greater injustice where housing transactions are concerned.
And that’s the levy that estate agents charge.
Up until recently this ‘estate agents tax’ of up to 2% of your sale price regardless of value, has been a fait accompli as there was no alternative but to pay, through the nose, for pictures to be taken and an ad to be placed in order to attract potential buyers.
But in true Robin Hood fashion, this plague on all your houses, so to speak, has now been eradicated.
Thanks to eMoov.co.uk, you’ll pay a fair, low fee for a job well done and can take comfort that the injustice of having to pay an average of £4000 to a man (or woman) in a suit whenever you move home, can be confined to the High Street of history.
Did you know that UK house sellers would be some £2 BILLION better off each year if everyone eMooved……?