Coalition gets tough on tax avoidance of the wealthy
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Friday 06 January 2012
Nick Clegg backed away from the Liberal Democrats' plans for a mansion tax yesterday as he joined David Cameron in promising a government crackdown on tax avoidance.
The Deputy Prime Minister is pressing for more taxes on the very rich to allay public fears over the Coalition's spending cuts. But his caution over Liberal Democrat proposals for a tax on homes worth more than £2m reflects opposition to the move from George Osborne. Instead, the Chancellor is expected to use his March Budget to close tax loopholes exploited by wealthy individuals and companies – including people who avoid stamp duty on their homes. He is likely to announce Britain's first "general anti-avoidance rule".
Liberal Democrat sources denied Mr Clegg had abandoned his support for a mansion tax but admitted he could not commit the Coalition to introducing one.
They said the Deputy Prime Minister would insist that Mr Osborne imposes new taxes on the rich if he scraps the 50p rate of tax on earnings above £150,000 a year. However, abolishing the top rate now looks increasingly unlikely as it would fuel Labour claims that the Tories are "the party of the rich".
Mr Clegg told BBC Radio 4: "I think there are millions of people... who pay their taxes, who work hard, who aspire to do the right things for themselves and their families, who are quite rightly angered there is a wealthy elite of large businesses who can pay an army of tax accountants to get out of paying their fair share of tax. They basically see paying tax as an optional extra, they pick and choose the taxes you pay. There should be a general rule that you can't play the system, you can't abuse the system."
Yesterday Mr Cameron pledged a "tougher approach" towards large companies employing "fancy corporate lawyers" to keep down their tax bills.
David Gauke, the Treasury minister, said: "People buying high value properties must pay their fair share. We're looking at this area to see what can be done."One dodge is for properties to be placed in an offshore company, allowing owners to escape stamp duty because the company rather than the house can be sold.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
First full-length look is finally here
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Gas Installation Manager is r...
£29000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Service and Brea...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for an Engineering M...