Collecting tax due on rent and buy-to-let gains is not hard but the government refuses to do it

Richard Murphy on Tax Research UK:

What is as staggering is the government’s refusal to recognise the scale of this issue, or to still tackle it properly. What is absurd is that, as Newham has shown, doing so is not hard.

If all landlords had to be registered with HMRC informed much to the problem would be resolved, and landlords could be made to pay the cost.

If only HMRC checked all property transactions for potential gains disclosure (which would not be hard; they are subject to stamp duty or its equivalent in most cases, after all) much of the rest would go away.

This does not happen though, for three reasons.

First, the government would rather cut what they call red tape than collect tax.

Second, they would rather cut costs at HMRC, using the excuse of austerity than collect tax. They are significantly cutting the number of staff at HMRC over the next few years.

And third, they’d rather inequality increased, which this failure on their part permits, than collect tax.

There is gross negligence by taxpayers going on here. But the reality is that the greater negligence is by government who refuse to collect tax owing for dogmatic reasons. We all have a right to be very angry with them.