Thursday, September 20, 2018

Better than expected

When the news emerged two weeks ago that the Tax Working Group had backed away from recommending a capital gains tax, I was angry. After all, producing such a recommendation was the purpose of the group, and imposing such a tax the purpose of this government. But the Working Group released its interim report today, and it turns out that they do support a capital gains tax - they just haven't worked out what it should look like yet:

Two ways of taxing capital have been proposed by the Tax Working Group, including extending the current income tax regime.


The group is proposing two options for taxing capital gain: any gain from the sale of assets taxed at roughly the marginal income tax rate, and the second a regime under which a portion of the value of certain assets would be subject to tax, for example rental properties, to be paid each year.

However, Sir Michael said neither of these options were actual recommendations.

Delving into the report, they're doing detailed design of the two options to work out which will work best, and it looks like they will in fact produce a recommendation at the end of it. Of course, the government (which is composed purely of rich people who will have to pay this tax) might still chicken out or put their own interests first, but its looking a lot more hopeful for progressive change than it was.

In the meantime, we can no doubt expect more wailing and piteous whining from the rich and the business community, who find the thought of paying their fair share for once erodes their "confidence". Which says rather a lot about their lack of ethics. Taxes are what pay for the safe society which allows them to do business. And if they want to dump the costs of that on other people, then they're simply parasites, and we're better off without them.