In this, is the last of my reviews of the main parties tax plans, I look at the pros and cons of the Lib Dems who plan to:
-Raise the income tax threshold to £12,500
-Introduce a UK-wide High Value Property Levy on residential properties worth over £2m
-Bring in £14bn from tax rises on corporations and the wealthy, and reduce tax avoidance
-Increase charges to “non-doms”, raising £130m
The non-dom tax charge is an interesting one. The current non-dom taxation system is a key attraction to bringing business to the UK but is also a system that has been tinkered with over the years. Getting a new sensible policy would be better than just increasing current charges though.
Taxing homes worth over £2million would raise a massive sum each year every year
All parties talk about reducing tax avoidance. The recent bad press about HMRC “doing deals with tax avoiders” would suggest that a better policy would be for HMRC to apply the rules stringently but fairly to everyone, with a degree of consistency. HMRC already has tools in its armoury, it just needs to apply them across the board on an even-handed basis
Increasing taxes on corporations will be unpopular with multinationals, but then multinationals don’t vote so this seems to be a crowd-pleaser. UK Owner-Managers may find themselves dragged into the corporation definition,
The income tax threshold has the same unwanted effect as the policies of other parties, i.e. it doesn’t help the low paid
The “Mansion Tax” was commented on when we reviewed Labour’s policies. It seems to be a “crowd pleaser” but owner managers work hard for their business, and to be taxed again when they enjoy the fruits of their labour in the form of a good home is a bitter pill to swallow for many. It's also a policy that distorts across the UK due to house price differentials, the same as stamp duty has done.
The suggestion by the Lib Dems that people could 'roll up' the tax due and pay it on their death may well be a way to allow the proverbial little old lady in her old family house to avoid paying cash now, but is surely effectively an additional inheritance tax by the back door and a worrying precedent for 'spend now tax later'. If it is a coalition government again this could be the combined labour/lib dem policy compromise.