Ever since the Tax Working Group’s findings were released, I have listened to the rage, the unrelenting anger at the possibility of a Capital Gains Tax. And the more I listen, the more I think it needs to happen.
Parties such as A.C.T. are blinded blinded by their ideological fury about the Capital Gains Tax. Be rid of it they all say: it costs the businessman and the landlord, the entrepreneur and the real estate agent, the industrialist and the farmer.
How dare you take away our wealth making means!
But hang on a minute. As Sir Kerry Burke, former Labour M.P., noted in The Press the other day, what about those who have acquired property simply because they could and not because they needed it or because they had any reasonable plans for them? Mr Burke gave the example of a person who had acquired 80 properties.
I believe a C.G.T. is needed, and that a good case can be made for one. The basics of it are that one would need to be simple but fair. So far people agree that the family home should be exempt for obvious reasons. I have given another reason above for going ahead – people who acquire property simply because they can stoke an overheated market and the distrust of the many who are literally priced out whilst the lucky few go about making millions.
There is another reason for wanting to do this. That is quite simply at some point it would be implemented anyway for better or for worse. We should try to implement this now with a fresh set of recommendations in front of politicians than try again at a later date.
If we on that basis proceed, then the questions should be about the rate at which it is set; what it covers and and when to make it law.
There is one final point that also needs to be made. The Capital Gains Tax is just a PROPOSAL. Neither it or any of the other 100 recommendations are law yet. And not all of them will be – although unlikely, the C.G.T. might be among them.