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Posen calls for 'bubble tax' on homes

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Adam Posen, a member of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee, said that the Government should consider slapping extra taxes on British properties, suggesting that in future homeowners should have to pay an extra charge if prices rise too fast. In comments which will cause extreme disquiet in the Treasury, he even indicated that this may mean imposing capital gains taxes on first homes and raising stamp duty. The comments, in a speech at a conference in London on Tuesday, are highly unusual since MPC members generally steer well clear of comments on fiscal policy. But Mr Posen, the newest member of the nine-person committee, said that while he was "speaking solely for myself alone as an economist looking at the boom-bust problem", he felt some kind of tax penalty on house prices was an important solution to Britain's repeated housing crashes.

 

He said: "if we can contemplate a Tobin tax on financial transactions, we should be able to set up something in a similar spirit for real estate transactions which are already taxed and regulated... it would mean having already existing title fees, capital gains taxes, stamp and transfer taxes, varying over time in line with price developments in the housing market more broadly." The Bank is currently investigating what extra "macro-prudential" tools it can create alongside interest rates to help it control the ebb and flow of the credit cycle. Mr Posen said policymakers should also "go after some of the problem directly, beyond the banking system itself", adding that the ideal solution was "an automatic stabilizer for housing prices".

 

Britons' first homes are currently excluded from capital gains tax, but Mr Posen appeared to indicate that he may favour imposing capital gains on existing homeowners, saying: "One would have to be careful not to bias the system against new or existing housing, so stamp-type duties would have to be equalized in some sense versus transfers or capital gains."

 

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Posen calls for 'bubble tax' on homes - Telegraph


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