The government is struggling to collect enough CGT. Maybe the 28% rate is a turn off. Maybe they should have listened to those of us who argued to keep labour’s lower rate of 18%, as the best way to maximise CGT revenue. The government should ask itself why is CGT the vanishing tax?
You would have thought CGT should be surging. After all the Stock Exchange is at a new high, and property prices especially in London have been booming. Instead CGT revenue has been falling – from £4.337 bn in 2011-12, to £3.927 bn in 2012-13 to £3.908 bn in 2013-14.
The Treasury and OBR forecasting models are clearly far too optimistic. Just look at the way they accelerated the forecasts for CGT revenue for 2013-14 as the economy started to recover more rapidly:
June 2010 estimated £3.3bn
March 2011 estimated £3.7bn
March 2012 estimated £4.9bn
March 2013 estimated £5.1bn
Current outturn £3.9bn
In other words the CGT revenue actually received on latest figures (after the year end) is down £1.2bn or 30% of the achieved total compared to last year’s forecast. It is still under half the level reached in 2008-9 with a lower rate. (£7.852bn)
The Treasury do now accept a Laffer effect on CGT. They agree that a higher rate than 28% could lead to lower revenues. It looks from the figures as if 28% yields less than 18%. It certainly shows their forecasting model is way off beam, as they think a stronger economy and higher asset prices leads to rapid growth in CGT, when it is still leading to a fall.
The reason the optimising rate for CGT is low is people can easily put off taking gains, or can find offsetting losses, when they think the rate is too high.