Black's Property Blog

Adrian Black delivers critical property market insights and the influences, behaviour and money driving them.

Stamp tax reduction needs to happen at the same time or after a big focus on anti money laundering

by Adrian Black, Friday 11 September 2015

The calls for stamp tax reduction are getting louder (highlighted by us in previous blog articles here and here where we outlined the basic economics, in September 2014.)

We have to be very careful.  The worrying matter of money laundering in scale has been raised by a recent Channel 4 investigation and program in July as well as the Private Eye mapping of British property interests of companies based in tax havens. If money laundering has been happening on a significant scale - and there seems to be quite strong suggestions that it has - then the properties acquired as a result may not appear on the market for a considerable time again, if ever (without extreme government and/or legal intervention). The potential future property supply has therefore been reduced.

Lowering stamp tax now without concrete investigation into the extent of money laundering and better enforcement of anti-money laundering may just encourage more criminal activities and therefore lead to a further reduction in long-term supply.

The message - yes transaction taxes are too high - but corruption and criminal activity also seem way too high too (sadly we will never be completely free of both).  All need to be tackled quickly, not just transaction taxes.

London

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