25 Jan 24
Paul Johnson – a director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies since 2011 and a visiting economics professor at University College London – has urged the abolition of stamp duty for private landlords.
Writing in The Times and on the IFS website Johnson – a regular figure used by news organisations as an independent analyst of economic policy – says: “Not only do prospective landlords have to pay extra stamp duty, they pay far more tax on other aspects of their investment than do owner-occupiers. They pay tax on rental income received, with now only limited tax relief on mortgage payments. A higher-rate taxpayer whose rent receipts only just offset their mortgage interest payments will still pay tax of 20 per cent on their rental income.
“Landlords also pay capital gains tax on the sale of the property, including on purely inflationary gains. Even ignoring stamp duty, the effective tax rate on the real return received by a higher-rate taxpayer buying a property to let, with a 50 per cent mortgage and selling after ten years is something like 76 per cent. That rises to 86 per cent for additional (45 per cent) rate taxpayers and can easily exceed 100 per cent for landlords with bigger mortgages.
“To repeat, it is tenants, actual and potential, who suffer. The more harshly that landlords are taxed, the higher rents will be.”
Johnson goes on to say that one reason behind large recent rent rises is the increased tax payable by private landlords.
He makes the point that reducing or scrapping any of these taxes in the upcoming Spring Budget would not be popular, because private landlords are not seen as widely deserving economic benefits, but he says the hard reality is that such a move would increase rental supply and reduce rents.
Johnson adds that even for owner occupiers, stamp duty or its equivalent is “eye-watering” in some parts of the UK.
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