Despite a tax worth £218,200 per year being introduced with the aim of revealing the ultimate owners of some of London’s highest net worth properties, the Guardian has reported that wealthy individuals are willing to pay the tax to keep their privacy.
The tax, which was introduced in 2013 in an attempt to hinder the amount of “dirty money” being laundered through the London property scene, has not uncovered the individuals behind corporate vehicles registered in locations such as the Bahamas and Channel Islands.
The report reveals that there are 210 properties in the UK worth more than £20m that are owned by such offshore companies. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of these properties are based in London, with one address at One Hyde Park hosting twenty of the 210. The most expensive of these properties was sold in 2011 for £135m to a company in the British Virgin Islands.
Financial transparency campaigners have raised the issue that with such wealthy individuals, the £218,000 tax is unlikely to dissuade them should they be involved in money laundering or corruption.
The Government has announced that it will raise the tax from 2017 to £220,350. The government will further close a loophole that allows non-doms to avoid inheritance tax if they own property via an offshore structure. It has introduced a flat 15% stamp-duty fee for new properties bought via offshore companies.
Read the full story in the Guardian:
More than 200 wealthy foreigners are choosing to pay £218,200 a year in tax rather than declare which of London's £20m-plus mega-mansions they own. The government introduced a special annual tax on homes owned via "non-natural persons" such as offshore companies in 2013, to crack down on "dirty money" used to secretly buy up luxury homes.
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