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Cherie Blair set to fight B2L tax relief cut in court

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Cherie Blair is set to challenge the Government’s buy-to-let tax relief changes in court, arguing it breaches human rights.

A campaign started with by two landlords, Steve Bolton and Chris Cooper, has contacted legal firm Omnia Strategy, which is led by the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, for legal opinion and has been told it has a “reasonable chance of success”. The campaign has so far raised over £50,000 via the website Crowd Justice.

Blair’s team has written to HMRC calling for a judicial review of the Government’s policy change, which will see buy-to-let tax relief gradually reduced to the basic rate of tax from April 2017.

The Government’s new policy will prevent landlords with mortgages from offsetting mortgage interest costs against rental profit before calculating tax, which goes against the “fundamental business principle where income less costs equals profit”, argues the legal team.

The legal challenge argues that the Government’s move breaches the European Convention of Human Rights and that it constitutes unlawful grant of state aid to corporate landlords.

Bolton says: “This tax grab is unfair, undemocratic and underhanded, and we believe it is unlawful on a number of points. In no other business are costs wholly incurred to fund the business liable for taxation.

“In addition there is no substantiation in the Government’s proposal that the changes will create a level playing field between homeowners and buy-to-let landlords. The change discriminates against the typically smaller landlord who may incur effective tax rates of over 100 per cent while making an economic loss, and gives an unfair commercial advantage to many other categories of landlord unaffected by the change. We are therefore delighted that our legal challenge has progressed to the next stage and look forward to receiving the Government’s response.”

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Comments

There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The word ‘discriminates’ gets used a lot these days – I suspect to invoke fear in those on the other side of the argument. One persons ‘discrimination’ can at times be another persons levelling the playing field’.

    The bottom line is surely, unless a business is involved, why should a private investor raising finance to invest in a property be treated any differently to someone who does the same to invest in (for example) shares.

    I fail to see any reason and therefore I also fail to see how this can be discrimination against those who want the tax payer and the banks to support them in their investment endeavours.

  2. Paul your point is spot on!

  3. Another example of where the European Convention of Human Rights is being misused and brought into disrepute by Ms Blair and her cohorts.

  4. I was about to go off on one but was delighted that Paul has hit the nail on the head already. Very efficient.

  5. If two groups of investors, private landlords and corporate landlords, have a taxation advantage over residential occupiers/buyers and the taking away of that advantage from one group constitutes a breach of human rights on the grounds that is discriminates against the looser then simply “level the playing field” and remove the advantage from both! Jobs a good ‘un.

  6. Exactly Paul! Far too often these days Human Rights is banded about to strike fear into any opposition to new laws or processes. Cherie Blair also has a vested interest and therefore conflict of interest being that her and her husband are property investors. B2L has ruined the UK market for those trying to gain a rung onto the housing ladder. Why should an affluent few benefit from the misery of others, snapping up scarce property and pretending it’s a business when it’s nothing more than speculative greed in a highly illiquid asset??

  7. Paul highlights another issue. My friend can borrow money on very favourable terms to invest in property but I cannot do likewise to invest in shares.
    I am feeling discriminated against

  8. The campaign has raised £50,000 so far. Surely that won’t pay Mrs. Blair’s fee?

  9. Human Rights?! There are people without homes at all, displaced by a war that someone she knows may have had something to do with…I thought she was a good Christian?

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