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Homeowners should be taxed on property equity

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Written by: Lana Clements
14/11/2017
Stamp duty should be scrapped and replaced with a tax on equity in people’s homes, MPs have been told.

The government should introduce a ‘primary property gains tax,’ in order to address the housing crisis and close the gap on wealth inequality, Michael Johnson, research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies, told the Treasury Select Committee today.

The committee of MPs, chaired by Nicky Morgan, is investigating household finances and which policies could support people in saving and sustainable debt and credit.

Johnson told the committee: “We’re going to have to grasp the nettle, and ask ourselves the question about redistribution.

“There are only two areas to go to – one is pensions and the other is equity in homes.”

Replace Stamp Duty

Johnson said: “We ought to scrap stamp duty, it’s a barrier to entry, and we are going to have to introduce a primary property gains tax.”

Johnson said he had bought a four-bedroom house in North London 20 years ago, which generated £3m of equity.

He added: “I believe I should be taxed on [the equity] when I sell it.”

The research fellow also predicted that as first-time buyers take longer to get into ownership and there’s a decline in final salary pensions, more people will rely on their homes for income in retirement in the future.

He said: “Equity release is going to have to play a much bigger role in the provision of retirement and income than it has historically.”

The ideas raise similar thoughts to those proposed by the London School of Economics (LSE), which suggested stamp duty needed to be overhauled along with Council Tax.

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