The government is planning to sell all the woodland owned by the Forestry Commission. Johann Hari discusses many of the issues involved here, but misses one, and that's that this is a massive opportunity for a tax planning bonanza for the rich.
As a commentator in the journal of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners said in April this year:
Investing in woodland
Investing in commercial woodland attracts the flowing tax advantages:
- Capital Gains Tax. As timber grows it will increase in value. This increase is exempt from capital gains tax, but any increase in the value of the land is not exempt.
- Income Tax. Any income or profit generated from woodland is exempt from income tax.
- Inheritance Tax. Commercial woodlands (including both land and timber) qualify for 100 per cent Business Property Relief provided they have been owned for at least two years.
Triples all round for a few then.
Pretty much tax free destruction of one of our most valuable natural resources is coming our way soon.