Tax options still to be explored
THE chief minister, maybe unsurprisingly, found Guy Hands’ contribution to the Tax Review debate to be immediately seductive.
Since then, dozens of open market residents have written to this newspaper in complaint, while many more will no doubt have been unhappy with the idea.
Clearly the people who live in open market housing are not all cut from the same cloth. There are high net worth individuals, who may have come to the island in recent times, who have the money to buy the property and live a very comfortable lifestyle, maybe so comfortable that they can afford to pay a 1% levy on the value of their property every year.
Others may be long-time open market residents. They may have had wealth, but now live a more simple lifestyle in retirement. Some open market residents may have scraped together every penny they had to afford to buy their home and the residential rights that come with it, and just lead ordinary working lives.
So we can also see why the idea has crashed and won’t be resurrected, certainly in a similar form. But we should thank Mr Hands for his willingness as an open market resident, and, importantly, as an islander, to contribute to this debate.
He may have strayed too far in targeting the open market, but in opening up debate towards wealth he should surely have encouraged the States to look again at its Tax Review options. We’ve been repeatedly told that HNWIs will be scared off, and will be paying exorbitant rates of tax in comparison to other islanders, if the States tinkers with the sector.
Mr Hands’ willingness to contribute, both to debate and, indeed, financially, shows that there may still be a discussion to be had in areas such as the tax cap, which appear to have been disregarded… too soon maybe?