Can Government tax breaks help stifle soaring property taxes?

The UK is levied more on property as a percentage of GDP than anywhere else in the world, according to a new report.

The news comes just days after the Chancellor Philip Hammond abolished Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for first-time buyers.

The latest figures show that property tax receipts – which include charges such as stamp duty, inheritance tax, and business rates – increased to £81.4 billion in 2016, compared to £76.6 billion the year previous.

The findings represent a near £20 billion increase in property taxes since 2010.

The report, published by OECD, also shows that the UK’s property taxes as a percentage of GDP doubles the global average – 12.5 per cent compared to six per cent.

The OECD gathers economic data across a number of continents, including countries in the European Union as well as South Korea, Canada, and Australia.

Commentators have called on the Government to help reduce the property tax bill, and have welcomed recent changes included in this year’s Autumn Budget.

As well as a cut in stamp duty for new buyers, the Chancellor also announced that business rates will switch from the retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation to the more subtle consumer price index (CPI).

The Government said the move will save British business around £2.3 billion over the next five years.

Commenting on the announcement, Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “These are encouraging first steps, so now is the time to commit once and for all to putting the rates system on a more affordable and sustainable footing, to support local communities, shops and jobs.”

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