Journal article

The Taxation of Australian Landlords: Would the British Tax Treatment of Rental Investments Increase Tax Burdens if Introduced in Australia?

Rental housing Tenants Landlords Private rentals Australia Great Britain

The tax treatment of housing can have important implications for the relative attractiveness of investment in housing. The tax regime for private landlords in Britain appears to be less favourable than in many other advanced welfare states, including Australia, where negative gearing is commonly cited as a tax preference encouraging investment in rental housing. If private landlords in Britain are tax disadvantaged compared with their Australian counterparts, tax burdens and rents will increase if British central government tax arrangements replace current provisions. This proposition is tested using micro data from a survey of private landlords in Australia to model the impact of the two tax regimes on their user cost of capital. It is found that, at the inflation rates prevailing in the early 1990s, tax burdens are marginally lower under Australian as compared with British tax arrangements. However, at lower rates of inflation, this conclusion is reversed; this is particularly the case for landlords with relatively short holding periods who invest in low-income rental housing.

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