Charlie Elphicke is the Member of Parliament for Dover and a member of the Public Administration Select Committee. Follow Charlie on Twitter.
For 13 years, the Labour Government toadied up to the super-rich and turned a blind eye to tax avoidance. As Conservatives we are committed to fairness and social justice. That means we believe everyone should pay a fair share.
Labour walked on by while big companies and people from overseas avoided stamp duty on UK real estate. Action was only taken on non-domiciles when Labour were shamed into action by George Osborne in 2007. Even then they expected us to wait for seven years before expecting non- domiciles to pay a fair share of tax on their worldwide income.
It is not acceptable to wring our hands and say there is nothing we can do. Other countries manage it. Spain is trenchant on ensuring property taxes are paid. While the US taxes everyone on the basis of their worldwide income. They don't sit there worrying about non-domicile status. They just tax everybody, everywhere.
We should learn from these international lessons. Starting with the taxation of UK real estate. Every property owned through a company – be it UK or overseas – worth over £1m should be subject to an annual charge of 0.5% stamp duty land tax. On a sale where stamp duty is charged at the 5% rate the annual duty paid could then be credited against the annual levy.
This would stamp out the abuse in a way that cannot be said to be discriminatory under EU rules. This change would ensure stamp duty is also paid by UK commercial property companies who routinely avoid stamp duty as much as by overseas tax avoiders. Everyone should pay their fair share.
The total expected receipts to the Exchequer of these measures would be well in excess of £1bn per annum.
Non-domiciles don't get taxed on worldwide income until they've been here for 7 years. Why not? Why should they be treated any differently to any British taxpayer? The non-dom levy should apply from day one. Either pay up or pay tax on worldwide income like everyone else does. This measure would raise between £500m and £1bn.
These two measures would provide some £2bn of extra revenue to the Exchequer. The effect would be to broaden the tax base and do more to ensure everyone pays a fair share of tax.
The revenues from these measures could enable the abolition of the 50p rate. Yet the over riding priority has to be fairness with the lowest paid being taken out of tax until earning £10,000. Only then can consideration be given to the abolition of the 50p rate if – and only if – it is shown to be a drag on economic growth and job creation.