Thursday, 21 August 2014

Philip Ozouf’s Twist on the Poll Tax

Do you remember Margaret Thatcher’s massive shake-up of the rates system in Scotland and the UK? This was change to a property tax based on people living in a property rather than the property itself. It lost the Conservatives all their Scottish MPs, and was a disaster which brought down Mrs Thatcher.

The changes suggested by the Treasury Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, are not quite as radical, but they are a move in the same direction. Instead of the present situation whereby the owner and occupier share the burden of the rates, it is envisaged that the entire burden falls on the occupier, whether owner / occupier or occupier alone.

“Moving to taxing the consumer (i.e. the owner or the occupier) of land/property on its current value.

“Domestic properties – the tax could be based on the current market value of the property – potentially based on either the sale value or annual rental value – and charged to the occupier only.”

“Taxing the occupier of property instead of the owner and occupier as now”

The proposals are made by PWC and we still don’t know how much they were paid to produce this report, and they include

“Building appropriate reliefs into the system to protect those who would struggle to pay.”

Well, we all know what that means – most people will pay more. “Middle Jersey”, those above thresholds, but still paying high rental values, or owners of a single residence, will have to pay considerably more under these proposals. Rents are already very high in Jersey, and the burden on the average resident will increase considerably.

It is not quite a poll tax, but it is a fundamental shake-up which shifts the burden from owners who rent domestic property to the occupiers, the very people who can least afford such changes.

As the elections approach, I wonder if we can we afford Senator Philip Ozouf and his commissioning of reports like this (no doubt at considerable cost)?

James Rondel, at Change.Je, has written a very good piece on the new proposals at:
"Is the new Green Paper on property taxation really all about consultation and efficiency, or is it a centralisation and increase in taxation through the back door?"

And readers might also like to look at my own initial review:


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