Professor speaks out against Landlord Tax Grab

by Mark Alexander

14:07 PM, 18th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Professor speaks out against Landlord Tax Grab

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Professor speaks out against Landlord Tax Grab

Philip Booth is a Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham. He recently issued the following statement to a member of the Property118 Campaign Group, along with his blessing for its publication ….Philip Booth - Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics at St. Mary's University, Twickenham

“Osborne is either being deliberately dishonest or simply does not understand the issue when he uses the tax relief for owner occupiers example. Tax on owner occupied imputed rent was abolished in 1963 (in my view it should be brought back, but that is a separate point) and tax relief on mortgage interest was intended as an offset against that (because interest is taxed in the hands of the financier of the mortgage, if appropriate). When the tax on imputed rent was abolished the tax relief that remained was an anomaly (or, arguably, designed to shove society in the direction of owning rather than renting). There was nothing any longer to relieve (so, of course, it just relieved general income tax paid on income). 

The case of renting is totally different. Here, tax is paid on the rent and the interest is a business cost (as with any other business). One should pay tax on the profit and the financier of the mortgage pays tax on the interest. 

Any other position is essentially arguing that providing shelter for people who cannot afford to buy is less economically worthy than any other economic activity that would be taxed as a business and it should therefore be discriminated against.

To put it quite bluntly, this is an elementary undergraduate public finance error that should not be made in the Treasury.”

Professional Qualifications and affiliations:

  • Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries, 1991 onwards
  • Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, 1990 onwards
  • Certificate of Finance and Investment of the Institute of Actuaries, 1989
  • Honorary Member of the Society of Actuaries of Poland, 1997 onwards
  • Fellow, Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, 2010-2011
  • Member, the Mont Pelerin Society, 2007 onwards

Previous Experience

  • Editorial and Programme Director, Institute of Economic Affairs (1st September 2002 – present)
  • Previously Professor of Insurance and Risk Management, Cass Business School and other positions within City University, 1988-2015
  • Associate Dean, City University Business School 2001–2002
  • Adviser on Financial Stability to the Bank of England 1998-2002


Comments

Dr Rosalind Beck

14:26 PM, 18th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Yes, and when he was an expert witness at the Treasury Select Committee on the Finance Bill, together with Paul Johnson of the IFS, and when they both gave evidence that Clause 24 'didn't make sense' and was 'plain wrong', they were completely ignored, as was later on, all of the written evidence to the Finance Bill Committee, pointing out the awful injustice and terrible ramifications of this move.

Instead of paying attention to the logic and justice of these arguments, the Chancellor, David Gauke and the Treasury are stonewalling with patent nonsense. The fact is that this is 'double taxation' - but with the bizarre taxation of business finance as though it were profit. And no other business is being asked to pay this ludicrous and confiscatory tax; we have to continue to fight all the way against this.

Hasmita Reardon

9:18 AM, 19th December 2015
About 3 years ago

yes I agree we landlords do need to fight this all the way, out of millions of landlords why is the petition signature so low??
either they don't believe the tax restriction will come in or they have buried their head in the sand!!

Jonathan Clarke

9:58 AM, 19th December 2015
About 3 years ago

When governments stonewall and reasoned educated compelling arguments made in the corridors of power fail to impress but are instead systematically shunned, then options are unfortunately limited.

The more this becomes apparent as seems to be the case in this saga as it unfolds, then legitimate lawful direct action and / or legal challenge are sometimes the only avenues left to pursue in a democratic society if one is to achieve ones goals.
.

Chris Walters

10:30 AM, 19th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Is there an option to make a legal challenge ? Is it appropriate to go down a class action route ? Who's up for it ? Count me in....

Jonathan Clarke

11:21 AM, 19th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Hasmita Reardon" at "19/12/2015 - 09:18":

Thousands of landlords will not be aware not so much because they have deliberately buried their head in the sand but they are just busy elsewhere and their property interests made be just a sideline to their main business activity. It takes a backseat in their lives . They do not frequent property forums or attend meetings etc.

The challenge is to get the message out to them in a way the political parties talk about getting their vote out. Inertia is widespread unfortunately . I just spoke to an investor who has 12 properties as a pension who only today said to me - whats all this i hear about some kind of tax increase. There will be many more just like him out there...
.
.

Chris Byways

16:33 PM, 19th December 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jonathan Clarke" at "19/12/2015 - 11:21":

Yup. I read 1 in 7 don't even know about protecting deposits. Many are accidental landlords, or don't know, feel they can't change it, let others do the work etc etc.

We are not a political force, so we have to win the argument or vote with our feet. Exit from this market, and leave the councils to use inferior temporary accommodation - if they can afford it.

michael fickling

11:24 AM, 21st December 2015
About 3 years ago

reference ...petition.. and why more landlords are maybe not acting against this tax change generally etc.
There are a very large number who are aware that there is a change...but have also totally misunderstood it..several landlords ive spoken to believe it only affects higher rate tax payers. One even told me his accountant had also reassured him that was definitely the case .I tried to explain that it affects any landlord who pays mortgage interest and the effect is largely based on the relative proportion of interest one pays compared to the current "profit". break even or loss figure one currently achieves.( There is a calculator on the telegraph site... and others.;;although you have to remember to include other salary/non property income). Given the way Osborne himself announced the change and the subsequent way the media have incorrectly described its effects, this mistaken belief is perhaps understandable. Any landlords who believe they arent affected because they are not top rate payers need to actually do the calculations and discover the apalling truth. Putting cycnicism aside i actually wonder if Osborne himself fully understands that in many instances people will pay tax on break evens or small real world losses for example ...... Anyway be assured many landlords currently have very much misunderstood it. Note here also the current rush to beat the new level of stamp duty..increase in buy to let mtge, applications etc. Are many of those landlords understanding the income tax issue properly ??..or are they in many cases lower level tax people not understanding this new income tax situation ?

JohnCaversham

14:10 PM, 21st December 2015
About 3 years ago

I've written to all of my tenants advising of rental increases in early '16 and have thoroughly and concisely advised exactly why....sighting George "Fletcher-Dirvish" Osborne's increase in tax specifically..

I've concluded he really must be as thick as B'stards side kick to have disregarded all the logic...Or a dishonest thief lying conceited spiv b'stard...

The Property Man

2:02 AM, 22nd December 2015
About 3 years ago

WE NEED TO FIGHT THIS TAX CHANGE AS THIS WILL BE CATASTROPHIC FOR EVERYONE !!!!


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