Debate Magazine

Squeal, Piggies, Squeal!

Posted on the 04 December 2013 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth
From The Telegraph:
George Osborne will this week announce plans to squeeze hundreds of millions of pounds of extra tax revenue to fund giveaways such as cuts in fuel prices, free school meals and married couple's tax breaks.
Much of the money will come from tighter rules applied to people the Chancellor described this week as "not your average taxpayer". But lawyers and accountants said the rules could affect many who could not be described as rich...
Experts last night warned that many British middle-class professionals will be caught up in a Treasury scheme to charge capital gains tax on UK property sold by overseas nationals and expats. The measures, to be announced in the Autumn Statement, are designed to hit wealthy foreigners buying and selling property in the UK.
However, the plan would also apply to British people living abroad and who are classed as non-resident here, but who still own property in the UK. Approximately five million Britons live abroad.
Jeremy Cape, tax partner at Denton, said: "It's impossible to tell how many British citizens abroad will be affected by this possible change. Potentially the largest class will be those who retired a decade or so ago to a warmer climate, but held on to their UK homes.

FFS, why do they assume that expat's are all "middle-class professionals"? In the very next sentence they say that the bulk of those potentially affected are retired, so not "professionals" any more. What do these people want? A tax only payable by working class people?
And if somebody has retired abroad and still owns a home here, then either it is standing vacant for occasional visits or it is rented out.
If it is vacant, then the vendor is not being "squeezed" if he sells it - he ends up with a big pile of cash with or without CGT on it. And if it is rented out, well it's a business asset and so there's no reason not to tax it.
NB, the UK is unusual in that it has hitherto exempted capital gains made on UK land and buildings owned by foreigners.

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