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Britain mulls new tax on non-residents—report

First Posted 09:59:00 02/06/2011

LONDON, United Kingdom?Britain is considering introducing a new levy on wealthy non-residents as it seeks fresh sources of revenue to help reduce the budget deficit, a newspaper reported Sunday.

The measures would affect about 120,000 people who claim a foreign connection so they do not have pay tax in Britain on their overseas earnings and assets, according to the Sunday Times.

Finance Minister George Osborne could signal the move?which would bring people such as Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal into the tax net?as early as next month's budget, it said.

The newspaper noted that an annual charge of ?30,000 (about $48,000 or 35,000 euros) was introduced under the previous Labor government for non-residents who had lived in Britain for seven years, but that has raised just ?160 million a year.

Extending the charge to non-residents living here for less time could significantly boost Britain's coffers, at a time when the government is pushing through austerity measures to reduce the deficit.

Prime Minister David Cameron warned meanwhile that Britain cannot afford to cut taxes, despite his ideological preferences as a Conservative.

"I would love to see tax reductions," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

"I'm a tax-cutting Tory and I believe in tax cuts, but when you're borrowing 11 percent of your GDP, it's not possible to make significant net tax cuts. It just isn't.

"It's no good saying we're going to deal with the deficit by cutting spending, but then we're going to make things worse again by cutting taxes. I'm afraid it doesn't add up."


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