Land Value Taxation Campaign

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Frequently Asked Questions about Land Value Taxation

In this section of the web site we have a series of FAQs to help people further their understanding about the application and benefits of Land Value Tax.

If you have any questions at all why not contact us at the LVTC and ask - we can add the answers to this section.

Is there an actual example of LVT legislation?

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The former London County Council introduced a Bill to the 1938-39 Session of Parliament for the implementation of site value rating, based on annual rental values, within the administrative county of London. It was of course rejected, though, interestingly, on a technicality. The drafting of this Bill comes close to what we would regard as the model for the collection of annual rental values for public revenue.

The London Rating (Site Values) Bill 1938.

How is land valued?

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Details of the practical techniques for land valuation are described in the reports produced by the surveyors who conducted two surveys in Whitstable, Kent, in 1964 and 1973. These days, the task would be simpler due the availability of computerised geographical information systems (GIS) which ease the task of number-crunching.
Report of 1964 survey
Report of 1973 survey

How much could LVT raise?

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This question "how much could a land value tax raise" is constantly put to us. We in the LVTC have always answered with a vague "enough", and then gone on to explain why we are vague on the subject. The question is in an inappropriate one. It is impossible to give a direct answer to the question because it depends on what existing taxes are removed.

What would be the impact of LVT on pensioners?

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The Campaign needs to give further attention to the criticism that the introduction of LVT would force elderly people on small fixed incomes out of their homes. This comment we have received describes a not unusual situation...

FAQs about LVT and the planning system

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How would LVT interact with the British planning system? The Campaign received a list of questions on this subject recently from a research student. The questions and our responses are published here as they are so often raised.

Is LVT a threat to the landscape?

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"Without special exemptions, land value taxation policy would cause loss of habitats such as ancient woodland heath etc in private ownership but not designated as sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs). It could also impair the protection of historic landscapes."


Land doesn't matter any more - again

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It is interesting how the arguments against LVT so often have to postulate impossible situations. Here is an example from the Guardian's Comment is Free discussion group, as part of its present campaign against tax avoidance. The point put in favour of LVT was...

"If taxation is tied to the holding of land titles, then it can not be avoided. Everyone uses land. Nor can land be hidden or removed to a tax haven. The tax payable needs to be a proportion of its annual rental value. If this reform was implemented, then tax cannot be avoided."

The response that came back was...

Oh absolutely staggeringly brilliant. So in your system a company that is based on intellectual property - say Google- could rent some premises in the Outer Hebrides and basically pay no tax at all. Marvelous.

This produced two separate counters

All the objections answered in one go

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All the FAQs answered at one in this comment by IanCb in the Guardian's Comment is free.


LVT would put up the price of food

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"A land tax as you propose  would simply increase the cost of land and all it provides including food."

Land value is the residual value after all other costs have been met. That is standard economic theory and readily observable - there are numerous test situations which have shown this eg shops do not charge more for their goods if they are paying high rents.

The person who made this comment was asked if they could explain how a land value tax might push up prices, as it would have been very interesting to know what the mechanism was. No reply came.

"People and organisations that don't 'own' land won't pay any tax"

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How about this objection to LVT from the Guardian's Comment is Free?

"So people and organisations which don't 'own' land but just rent or borrow it won't pay any tax? Sounds like a top plan."

Everyone uses land. Either they own it or they rent it. Whatever the case, they make a contribution to the LVT.

Land doesn't matter in this age of technology

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Land doesn't matter any more, people often say. This is the sort of comment we often receive...
Are you stuck in the 17th century or something? Land doesn't mean an awful lot when food can be shipped in cheap from Africa and your entire business is an office.

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