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Clearing up LVT misconceptions

The Private Member’s Bill promoted by Caroline Lucas calls for a feasibility study for the introduction of a Land Value Tax. This Bill is expected to have its second reading debate on 25 January 2013. I checked on We feel it important to clear up some misconceptions appearing in the press – such as ‘LVT is a stick to beat property firms …’ and it will ‘shift the burden of taxation to wealthy businesses and individuals.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.

LVT will be good for property developers. LVT is not a tax on wealth or the wealthy. LVT will simply return to the community the value the community creates and sustains in land value, leaving everybody with higher wages and lower prices.

Property companies and developers will benefit because they will be provided with enormous opportunities to build and redevelop vacant and under-used sites to provide the best possible modern facilities for which they can charge the highest possible open market rents that will be free of tax. House builders will be encouraged to build – especially on brown field sites – and reduce the housing crisis.

Money can be borrowed and made available for infrastructure projects in the knowledge that the improvements will be paid for from increased land value. This applies only to publicly funded projects. Privately funded developments cannot normally recoup cost unless there is a way for them to charge users of the facilities.

Since farmland is mostly marginal, the levy will be small or zero and farmers will benefit from a reduction in taxes on plant and machinery. Food will be cheaper.

Let us be clear on the basics:

  • Land Value Tax is not a tax on land.
  • LVT is an assessment on the annual site rental value only.
  • In assessing the annual rental value, the value of all buildings and improvements on the site in question are ignored (although the condition and state of development of all neighbouring sites are taken to be as currently found). Everyone will have an incentive to improve their home, office and factory.
  • LVT will replace existing taxes, not add to them.
  • Taxes on wages, manufacture, sales, profits and savings can be immediately reduced and eventually abolished.
  • With less income and sales tax, wages will rise and demand for goods and services will increase. With less corporation tax companies will invest more in research and new plant. Economic growth will quickly materialise.
  • LVT is the one tax that cannot be avoided or evaded. Neither can it be passed on in higher rents or prices.
  • LVT will provide the funds for new and improved infrastructure projects without the need to tax wages and production.
  • LVT will benefit everybody. With taxes on wages and production reduced there will be greater incentive to work and less reliance on state handouts to supplement low wages.

Our current tax system is a burden and disincentive to work and produce. LVT does not take anything from anybody that they have worked for or made themselves. It is a fair tax that will benefit everybody.