Tax Haven Bridge Sold in UK

December 6, 2009 Tax HavensTaxation in UK

Swinford Toll BridgeSwinford Bridge, a private toll bridge in the UK, which grants its owner various tax exemptions, was sold at auction to an anonymous bidder on December 3rd, for GBP 1,080,000.

The Swinford Toll Bridge in Oxfordshire, England, was built in 1767 by the Earl of Abingdom. The unique tax properties of the structure were granted when it received its own Act of Parliament “An Act for building a Bridge cross the River Thames, from Swinford, in the County of Berks, to Eynsham, in the County of Oxford”. By concessions granted within the act, the toll bridge entitles its owner to exemptions from income tax, inheritance tax, Value Added Tax and capital gains tax, along with exclusive rights to bridge building within a three mile radius of the Swinford Toll Bridge’s location.

Currently, the Swinford Bridge’s tolls are set at GBP 0.05 for cars and GPB 0.50 for trucks. The operation garners an approximated GBP 190,000 per annum. As the no levy is charged at night, an estimated GPB25,000 extra per year could be added in revenues through the installation of automated 24-hour collection machines. Included with the bridge sale was a cottage, 4,36 acres of land, and additional car parks and mooring along the river, which in previously provided its owner an extra GPB6,000 per year. However, a government order issued in 1994 requires the bridge’s owner to provide a total of GPB 650,000 over a period of 25 years, to be used for upkeep and repairs.

Photo by WiggyToo