16 May 2017

Stuff for Jeremy and Kezia to think on

Another Labour manifesto and, once again, the focus is on income tax and corporation tax, perhaps understandably, as these - together with VAT - form the bulk of tax receipts at the national level. But is the Labour Party missing a trick or two? Here are some other areas which seem to me to be ripe for attention.
1. When I buy shares on the stock market, I am charged stamp duty of 0.5% of the purchase price, the proceeds of which go to the Treasury. Is there any reason why this should not be increased to 1% or 2%? Certainly, share investors would squeal, but they are not short of a bob or two; otherwise they would not be putting their spare cash into the stock market.
2. I am allowed to earn capital gains on the stock market of up to £11.300 annually before such gains become eligible for income tax. Why is there this exemption from income tax? Like anyone else, I benefit from the standard income tax allowance. Why do share investors get this extra tax benefit?
3. Similarly, I am currently allowed to receive £5000 in share dividends before I have to pay any income tax on such receipts (although that was scheduled to be reduced to £2000 in 2018-2019). Once again, what is the justification for such favourable treatment for those not obviously in need?
4. Of course, in addition to the above, I can avoid any tax liability (other than stamp duty) by putting £20,000 a year into a stocks and shares ISA. Nice for me, but what does it contribute to the common good?
Can we afford these tax fripperies for the middle class when the NHS is going down the plughole, when welfare benefits are being hacked back, when schools are grossly underfunded and when there are serious financial problems providing care for the elderly?


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