An article in the Guardian today reports that "Offshore companies buying UK property could be forced to reveal their ultimate owners under plans being considered by ministers to crack down on tax evasion and money laundering. The proposals would shine a spotlight on the foreign firms that hold billions of pounds in British property without having to declare who is behind them. It could also require foreign companies bidding for public sector contracts to do the same. David Cameron is already forcing all UK companies to reveal their ultimate owners under the new plans for a register of beneficial ownership from June, so the plans would bring foreign owners of British property into line with those rules."
We are all in favour of a public register of beneficial ownership of land, but if an LVT system was in operation, it would not matter who or where the owners were; payment of the LVT would be a condition of the continued validity of the land title. If the LVT was not paid, the title would lapse. Unfortunately, we are the only people saying this. The politicians are silent, the journalists are silent, the academics are silent, and there is no place for comment in the place where comment is purportedly free.
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