The Tax Justice UK 2019 manifesto

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I contributed to this tax manifesto published by Tax Justice UK yesterday. I stress, it's their manifesto, not mine, but I share enough of it to endorse it. 

At the start of the 2019 general election Tax Justice UK has set out 33 policies for tax justice.

After ten years of cuts to public spending, there is now widespread consensus that more investment in public services is required. In this election, all of the main political parties are committing to major increases in public spending.

We're calling on politicians to address tax inequality, curb tax avoidance and improve the administration of the tax system. We want to restore people’s sense of having a stake in the system.

Our manifesto sets out costed policies that could raise £69 billion. It also includes measures where detailed costings are unavailable which could raise significantly more.

The manifesto was put together with Taxwatch UK and is endorsed by the  Equality Trust, Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK, the Women’s Budget Group, Church Action on Tax Justice and Jolyon Maugham, QC. We worked with leading academics, researchers and campaigners to develop the set of proposals.

Our manifesto urges politicians to:

Deal with tax inequality

  • Tax different types of income in the same way and scrap the current system of capital gains reliefs: £25bn a year after an initial phase-in period.
  • Scrap the tax-free dividend allowance, rolling it into the personal allowance -  £1.3bn.
  • Place a limit on the amounts which can be held in an ISA.
  • Have a single rate of pension tax relief at 28% - £neutral.
  • Limit the tax-free pension lump sum amount - £2bn a year.
  • Replace council tax with a proportional property tax, and once this has been implemented scrap Stamp Duty - £4.2bn a year.
  • Replace business rates with a land value tax on commercial property - £ neutral.
  • Turn inheritance tax into a progressive tax on lifetime gifts and limit inheritance tax reliefs - £4.8bn a year.
  • Raise the corporation tax rate to a minimum of 24% - £12bn a year.
  • Expand the financial transaction tax to include financial derivatives and other areas of the finance trade - £6.8bn a year.​

Curb tax avoidance and evasion

  • Tax the offshore structures used by global tech giants - £8bn a year.
  • End tax breaks for private equity firms that bury companies in debt.
  • Strengthen UK controlled foreign company rules - £1bn a year.
  • Support proposals for a global minimum tax rate.
  • Move towards a unitary system of taxing multinational corporations - £6bn a year.
  • Make online platforms responsible for collecting VAT - £1bn a year.
  • Limit the benefits of the non-dom rule.
  • Make British sports stars pay British taxes.
  • Investigate the possibility of introducing a US-style citizenship-based tax system.
  • Improve disclosure of profits and taxes of smaller UK companies.
  • Compel larger companies to publish reports on a country-by-country basis.
  • Introduce improved public registers of beneficial ownership, including the beneficial ownership of trusts.
  • Ensure that the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies publish registers of beneficial ownership of companies and trusts.

​Make tax accountable

  • Dramatically scale up the number of targeted audits that HMRC carries out.
  • Properly resource HMRC and Companies House.
  • Consider having a tax office offering free tax advice for every town with a population over 100,000.
  • Review tax reliefs and ensure ongoing parliamentary accountability of their operation.
  • Greater transparency of HMRC tax avoidance settlements.
  • Carry out full equality impact assessments for all tax policy changes to ensure they are progressive and fair.
  • Commission a comprehensive tax spillover assessment of the UK tax system.
  • Regular publication of appropriate information about the tax system, including a better estimate of the tax gap.
  • Ensure that whistleblowers are properly rewarded and protected.
  • Ensure that tax advisors and accountants are regulated.

​Download the manifesto:

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