The average citizen in virtually all ideological societies will pay various taxes. These taxes fall into three subcategories:
- Tax due when they receive money (tax due on income from labour or selling an asset at a profit)
- Tax due when they spend money (sales taxes and duties on goods and services)
- Static taxes for owning certain assets (vehicle taxes, property taxes)
The problem with the first two categories is that they can be evaded through black markets, offshoring of transactions, and collusion with tax collection authorities. In most societies, personal income is a very private matter, therefore there is no majority will amongst the citizenry to enforce transparency on how much tax citizens pay on their incomes, which further encourages evasion and corruption.
The proposed solution to these problems is to replace all taxes with a land tax. This would be a monthly charge due from each landowner. There would be different rates charged for different land usages (e.g. farmland would have a very low rate, while land with residential or commercial buildings would attract a more substantial charge). The charge would be a certain amount per unit area owned (e.g. £10 per month per square metre of land owned with residential buildings upon it). The rates could also vary by region, in order to match the spending requirements of the local government. To enforce transparency, an online public database with maps would show how land is categorised, who owns it, and how much revenue is being generating.
The anticipated advantages would be:
- A land tax cannot be evaded or offshored. Land ownership is fully transparent
- The poorest in society, who own no land, pay no tax, while the wealthier, who generally own amounts of land proportionate to their wealth, will pay more tax
- The elimination of income taxes allows all citizens keep 100% of their earnings, giving them more money to spend in the economy
- Elimination of sales taxes would reduce the price of goods and services, encouraging consumption
- Highly skilled people working in the 'industry' of accountancy could move into more productive industries
Would this deliver a fairer society and improve the economy?