Overall land tax would catch the super-rich

ABOLISHING all taxes except land tax would not chase farmers off the land, as Raymond Love implied (Letters, 23/6).

  The heaviest burden under a land-charging system would fall on St Georges Terrace, Peppermint Grove and similar high-priced land.

  These owners (who include super-rich people using every lawyer's trick to avoid tax) could not shift their land overseas in the way they shift profits.

"A land tax would catch the super-rich"
Letter to editor, from John Massam, Greenwood

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  They could not put the land into a trust fund or foundation and make it disappear from public view in the way they put away other assets now to avoid capital gains tax and to avoid arousing the suspicions of the income tax authorities.

  Their "bottom of the harbour" schemes would do them no good, because the State or national taxation office would take no notice of what accounting tricks they played, but would hold their hand out to whatever entity was benefiting from the land and ask for their contribution.

  Farmers and other people who actually produce and trade goods and services would find that farm and factory land does not compare in price with the plum sites owned and occupied by the super-rich.

  Because the super-rich would be, for a change, paying their share of tax, a reduced burden would be falling on the rest of us.

  So farmers, manufacturers, professional people and employees would find that they would have more money in their pockets and purses.

  Some research suggests that if governments could be restrained from giving huge sums to the companies of the super-rich, the revenue from land tax might be enough to build up reserves and, after a few years, it might be desirable to distribute some of the surplus to citizens periodically.

JOHN MASSAM, Greenwood

-- The West Australian, Wednesday June 28, 2000, page 19

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