London too taxing for foreigners?

Stephen Beard Feb 12, 2008


Doug Krizner: Many Europeans have an old adage when it comes to taxes: The treasurer’s job is to pluck as many feathers as possible from a goose with the minimum of hissing. There’s plenty of hissing in Britain today over a plan to increase taxes on wealthy foreign residents. Stephen Beard has more from London.

Stephen Beard: London has more foreign billionaires than any other city — more than a dozen. Russian oligarchs, Saudi princes, Asian entrepreneurs. They live here because they’re not required to pay tax on their offshore income or assets.

That’s caused resentment among less affluent British taxpayers. The government is now planning to tax foreign residents more heavily. But that’s provoked threats of an exodus by thousands of foreigners who work in London’s financial district.

Tax accountant Mike Warburton says Britain is damaging its role as a global trading center:

Mike Warburton: People will be leaving, and indeed are leaving the U.K., because we’ve become a less attractive place for them to locate themselves. It will damage the U.K. economy by far more than the tax it will raise.

The fear is that tens of thousands of Americans working in London could leave. Dozens of Greek-owned shipping companies are also reported to be ready to relocate.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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