Please don’t tell me the wealthy don’t abuse tax

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As the Mail reported this weekend:

Even though the developers behind swanky One Hyde Park revealed to The Mail on Sunday last year that they had abandoned stamp-duty saving schemes for their super-rich buyers, taxpayers could still lose out when these almost exclusively foreign multi-millionaires come to sell up.

So far, of the 38 flat leases at One Hyde Park logged with the Land Registry, 35 have been sold to companies, 16 of them in the British Virgin Islands, and in other tax havens such as Guernsey, Liechtenstein, the Isle of Man, Liberia, Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.

This means that the sales can go through simply by transferring the ownership of the shares of these holding companies, rather than registering the names of new owners on the Land Registry. The result is a five per cent saving in stamp duty on properties worth more than £1million.

Three things follow on.

First stamp duty abuse.

Second potential capital gain tax abuse by non-domiciled people.

Third, a reasonable basis for enquiry as to the source of funds.

But because the government has sacked so many H M Revenue & Customs staff their probably aren't enough staff to pursue the issue.

Which is, no doubt, deliberate.