The Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal-Democrat Party of Britain, Nick Clegg, has proposed an "emergency" tax on the assets (as opposed to the income) of wealthy Britons. While the details of the tax have yet to be revealed, Clegg said that "the country is facing an economic war prolonged by recession, and needs to tax the rich in order to avoid social unrest." Conservatives wasted no time criticizing the tax, saying that it "would chase out the rich and make the odds of full recovery even worse." I see this every day in my estate planning practice in Florida - wealthy Americans do move to Florida in order to minimize or even eliminate income taxes as well as state estate taxes or inheritance taxes.
Ernest Istook from The Heritage Foundation made an interesting observation about Clegg's proposed tax: "It's a wealth tax on everything people have accumulated in their life. That's like a retroactive income tax that goes back to when you were born. It resembles an estate tax levied when somebody dies. But if Britain makes this an annual tax, it treats people like they die every year, with a new estate tax levied each time."In essence, a "living estate tax." I'm sure it won't be long before someone from the U.S. Congress proposes a similar type of tax on high net worth Americans.