Monday, 3 November 2014

Killer Arguments Against LVT, Not (345)

Dinero, in the comments to #344:

If you want a Tax that captures some of the rental value of UK land how about a tax on banks' motgage portfolios.

It would the most painless. There is something similar, the UK Bank balance sheet Levy.

This is from the "Please go after somebody bigger than me" school of KLNs.

And as it happens, beefing up the bank asset tax to raise £30 billion or so is already in the YPP manifesto. That's a good idea with or without LVT, and a far better way of taxing banks than corporation tax or PAYE as it only taxes the monopoly/rental element of banking (i.e. 'splitting the zero').

But the total rental value of UK residential land is £200 billion, a bank asset tax would barely make a dent in that. Conceptually, the banking monopoly and the land monopoly are two slightly different things anyway.


mombers said...

Another problem with the bank mortgage portfolio tax is that people with no mortgages - them foreigners and also poor widows - get away with paying nothing. What would happen to capitalised values though, i.e. how much of the tax would be passed on? Rents obviously wouldn't change but the volume of mortgage lending would probably go down as banks get nudged into productive lending

Dinero said...


the thinking is that people with mortgages would not pay either, as the burden of the tax would be on bank share holders who in the long term could put thier savings in other shares elsewhere, so ultimately not on them either.

Mark Wadsworth said...

M, a tax on a monopoly cannot be passed on. Perhaps interest rates would go up a bit, but the amount which people are willing to borrow to buy land would go down by an equal and opposite amount etc.

D, or maybe bank shareholders would bear the tax in lower dividends, or senior bankers would bear it in lower bonuses.

By and large, non-insiders would be unaffected.

Dinero said...

Rather than "Please go after somebody bigger than me" school of KLNs. I was thinking that it was more in line With Henry George Progress and Poverty.
In that book he does not mention owner occupiers his focus is on those that place a charge on the users of land rather than land users themselves.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Din, P&P itself offers various options for socialising location values. As things stand, LVT is the most workable one (simply nationalising all land is the extreme version).

Later on, Georgists realised that the rental value of land is so high that there is plenty left over after paying for the core functions of the state etc - which we can use to pay a Citizen's Income/personal allowance.

So on any sensible mathematical level, half of owner-occupiers would pay no LVT because the liability is wiped out by the equal and opposite Citizen's Income/personal allowance.