Tax open market property, says financier Guy Hands
A tax on open market properties is a clear and simple way to raise more income, financier and open market resident Guy Hands has suggested.
Writing in today’s Guernsey Press, Mr Hands, who has lived locally for the past 14 years and is one of Guernsey’s richest residents, said it was not the time to be considering cutting services which were essential for the poorest members of society.
Policy & Resources has proposed that a drastic cut in States services would be necessary if its tax reforms are rejected by the States. Deputies are entering their third day of debate on the subject today.
Mr Hands, who last year bought Guernsey's most expensive open market property, said he was not against tax increases per se but ‘while we should focus on efficiency gains, we do need to accept that tax increases are inevitable'.
His idea would be to put a 1% tax on the value of open market houses, which he said was done in other jurisdictions, and often at a higher rate.
‘In Guernsey, now is the time for those of us – myself of course included – who live in open market property to make a greater contribution to balance the budget.’
This was the fairest and most efficient way to raise the tax take and should be brought in as soon as possible, he said.
Currently there are about 1,600 open market properties in the island.
Assuming that local open market property is worth £2billion, Mr Hands said that a 1% tax per annum would raise £20m. a year.
Mr Hands paid £15.21m. for the Normanville estate in Fosse Andre in December 2021.
The intention was to renovate the property and let it out to high net-worth individuals looking to move to the island or set up businesses.
He also owns Le Vallon Farm in Ville Amphrey, St Martin’s, which he bought for £7.7m. in 2013.
Mr Hands founded Terra Firma Capital Partners, which he built into one of the largest private equity investors in Europe.
Since moving to the island he has invested in local businesses, particularly hotels, with his wife Julia and their Hand Picked Hotels brand, and property.