Empty House Tax Will Boost Property Market, Raise Revenues

December 30, 2014 Taxation in UK

LONDON – Houses prices in the UK fall, if local governments were given greater power to tax empty properties.

On December 28th the UK based non-government organization the Institute of Public Policy Research issued a new report on the extent and number of empty properties in the country, and suggesting that tax measures can be used to alleviate the situation.

The experts of the Institute claimed that there are currently 635 000 unoccupied homes in the UK, with 216 000 of them being unoccupied for at least the last six months.

Currently properties which have been empty for over 2 years may be liable to face an Empty Homes Premium charged at a rate of 50 percent of the Council tax owed by the property owner.

However, in its report the IPPR called for the 50 percent premium should be abolished, and local councils should be given the right to set their own banded premium rates.

It was further advised that local councils should be able to define a time period after which homes are to be considered empty, and how long the house must be lived in to lose the classification.

It is estimated that enacting the overhauled premiums, local councils could raise as much as GBP 215 million per year, and, further, the move would encourage landlords to rent out or sell property, easing conditions on the property market, especially for first-time buyers.

Photo By: Lucy Fisher