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Budget: Hit business and wealthiest in tax avoidance crackdown – survey

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  • 07/07/2015
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Budget: Hit business and wealthiest in tax avoidance crackdown – survey
Consumers are urging the government to use tomorrow’s budget to increase penalties for businesses that avoid paying tax.

Ahead of the first Tory Budget taking place tomorrow, a survey revealed 52%  of consumers want to see increased penalties for tax avoidance by business and redirect a heavier tax burden to those earning over £150,000.

In a Partnership survey of  almost 2,000 consumers respondents were also in favour of stiffer penalties for individuals who avoided tax (39%) while others (10%) felt that non-means tested benefits should be reviewed so they are only available to those who need them.

A minority suggested increasing capital gains tax (7%) and lowering the inheritance tax threshold (7%) to increase government revenue.

However, the government is widely expected to raise, rather than lower, the inheritance tax threshold. It’s been leaked that George Osborne (pictured) will increase the effective inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1m.

Mark Stopard, head of product development at Partnership, said: “Tomorrow, the Government is in the unenviable position of needing to cut spending and raise revenues in order to balance the books. When asked, consumers clearly felt that those people and corporations who avoided tax should be penalised while at the same time, higher earners should shoulder a larger tax burden.”

Other industry experts have called for the government to focus on last time, not first-time, buyers in a bid to get the housing market moving.

Ben Thompson, managing director of estate agent comparison site estateagent4me.co.uk, said: “A break in Stamp Duty for last-time buyers could prove unpopular with some who believe that boomers and older homeowners have benefited enough from the UK’s high housing inflation – but it is a move that would result in a more fluid marketplace.

“If the Government is brave enough to take this action, it will inevitably face a public backlash as it’s seen to be helping a generation who have already had their bite at the cherry. Nonetheless, last-time buyers represent a vital piece of the jigsaw and the Government is right to take this bold step to incentivise them to rightsize.”

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