This is a very substantial piece of work from David Smith and other authors that sets out to consider not just a reform of the current tax system but a complete redesign. It makes the changes currently taking place within business rates seem rather small scale by comparison. This vision for a reformed tax system includes:
Although the research is structured to encompass a far broader range of taxes than those associated with local government, it is interesting to see the criticisms made of business rates and council tax. Both of which the author suggest should be abolished. At the back of the document there is an interesting table called Tax Death Row which identifies the 20 taxes recommended for termination.
Along with council tax and business rates are a number of taxes that the author suggests should be replaced by a location value tax. The location value tax is explained in detail over four pages of the research paper, but to summarise (pg 198):
“A location value tax involves a tax on the value of land in a given location which is normally calculated on the assumption of the land being in its most valuable permitted use.”
The author deal effectively with objections as they arise and concludes that “a detailed feasibility study ought to be commissioned, but there does not seem to be any fundamental reason why a location value tax could not be implemented by extending the process used by the Valuation Office Agency for business rates."
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