Once they had made a lot of money, the Beatles wrote a wry song about the Tax Man, who would tax the street, your feet, and other supposed absurdities. Reality has a lamentable tendency to imitiate some art. The United Kingdom is about to revalue real state for purposes of council (local) tax men (and women). Among the factors to be taxed: views, gated commuities, balconies, patios, roof terraces, and proximity to open space.
The national project will naturally be horrendously complex and expenseive to undertake, with all sorts of formulae adopted to ensure that no desirable attribute of house fails to bump up the tax burden. From the Telegraph (UK):
Having a nice view or living next door to a golf course are going to cost householders more in council tax under Labour plans.
Taxpayers are set to be charged hundreds of pounds extra a year if they are in a conservation area, next to an open space, have a swimming pool or tennis court or enjoy full or partial views of the sea, hills, mountains, lakes or rivers.
Extra charges are also expected to be levied on homes with more bedrooms than average, conservatories, large patios or gardens, roof terraces or balconies. Homes in "gated communities" will also face higher bills.
Official documents show that ministers are going to extraordinary lengths to build a detailed database of properties across England, with the intention of placing them in a higher council tax band.
Last night Caroline Spelman, the Tory local government secretary, described the proposed new regime as "more punishing than ever".
She added: "This is the latest stealth tax — it's a tax on the view from your house rather than a fair charge for local services."
The charges will come in after a long—awaited revaluation of each property in England and will take into account the huge rises in property values since the last valuation in 1991....
Detailed documentation from John Prescott's Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, shows that the exercise will cost at least �105 million. Of this,
�45 million is going on a new "computer—assisted mass appraisal system"
which will help officials to obtain specific details on every property in England.
Properties will be described in great detail using "value—significant codes"
to make an assessment for revaluation. Some of the code descriptions, such as living on a "small plot" or on a "main or busy road", having a cesspit, not having street lighting or living near a radio mast or pylon, suggest that certain households will be moved down a band and face lower bills.
However, there are many more codes which appear to add value to a property, including some to denote four different sizes of balcony and roof terrace, living beside a park or on a quiet road or cul—de—sac, in a penthouse, or near convenient public transport.
Hat tip: James Lewis
Thomas Lifson 11 06 05