Wealthy homeowners are already trying to dodge the mansion tax

Inequality To Be A Key Election Issue

There must be a lot of wealthy people out there who are pretty sure of the next government will be Labour as three months before the election, there has already been a rush to avoid Ed Miliband's mansion tax.

Wealthy homeowners with a property have already started the search for loopholes in an effort to stay one step ahead of the levy, which will cost £250 a month for a person whose property is valued at the threshold of £2 million.

There is scant detail on the tax, and according to shadow chancellor Ed Balls, none will be forthcoming until after the election, so everyone seems to be making up their own routes around it.

So far, there have been reports about people splitting large family homes into flat worth less than £2 million each and even getting quotes to add extra doors to the front of the property in a bid to trick goodness knows who – council property surveyors? – into thinking a property is already flats.

Some individuals are looking at giving part of their property away, maybe to their children, and lowering its value while others are thinking about giving a family member a lease over the property to reduce its value.

Others have really thought outside the boxed and questioned whether putting a conference room and conferencing facilities into their home will help reduce the 'residential' aspect as part of the property will be for business.

Wealthy win

Maybe the most sensible, or least loony, idea is to get a property valuation done now while the property marketing is cool and your house may sneak under the £2 million mark. Arguably though, if Labour does get into power and enforce the tax then properties around this mark will fall anyway.

The fact that people are trying to find loopholes already, even if they are bonkers, shows just what great lengths individuals will go to in order to avoid tax. If this tax is introduced who's to say there won't be a clever scheme or tax quirk found that allows people to get around it – and let's face it if you have a £2 million house it's likely you can afford to get round the tax.

That's why taxing the rich is always tricky because they're wealthy enough to stay one step ahead.

It seems that Miliband is going to have a fight on his hands if he does make it to number 10 but let's all get some perspective; we've got an election to get through first but it's nice Ed has so many wealthy people believing in him.

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Wealthy homeowners are already trying to dodge the mansion tax

The most expensive property on the open market in London right now isn't even a house. But this five-bedroom apartment has the prestigious One Hyde Park address, with magnificent views of both Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. Like a country house, it's split into two wings, connected by a 50-metre hallway. And the Candy & Candy decor is dramatic, to say the least. It's priced at an eye-watering £64,999,950, through Savills.

This seven-bedroom house has both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, along with a spectacular double-volume entrance hall, panelled study and grand double reception room. There are also two large dining rooms, a cinema room and a staff flat on the lower ground floor. It costs £46,500,000 through Knight Frank.

This 18th-century house has its own spa tucked away in the basement, with swimming pool, gymnasium, steam room, sauna and beauty treatment suite. The "magnificent ambassadorial mansion" has six receptions, eight bedrooms and a separate mews house. It costs £39,500,000 through Savills.

This house may look in pretty good condition to you and me, but the agents reckon it "does require updating to meet today's standards". Built in 2001, Oaklands Park has over 100 acres of land with four cottages, 33 stables and a polo pitch. There are five reception rooms and six main bedroom suites. It's for sale through Savills for £25,000,000.

Just three miles from the middle of Edinburgh, sixteenth-century Craigcrook Castle is up for sale for the first time in nearly three hundred years. It needs a fair bit of work - and a great deal more money - but has gallons of potential. It's up for sale through Ballantynes with a guide price of £6,000,000.

The most expensive property we could find in Northern Ireland right now, Dundarave is a grand mid-eighteenth-century house standing in 595 acres. The extraordinary Great Hall, which rises to the full height of the building, was based on the hall of London's Reform Club. It's on the market for £5,000,000 with Savills.

It may be a little outside the usual footballer's territory, but Swettenham Hall has room for a good kickabout in several of its half-dozen reception rooms. There's an indoor swimming pool and gym, a historic chapel - and a helicopter hangar. It's up for sale with Jackson-Stops for £12,750,000.

This bastion of bling near Exeter was built four years ago and comes with an extraordinary range of features - from equestrian facilities to a helipad and hangar. There's an indoor swimming pool, an enormous garage that's more immaculate than most kitchens, and even an indoor shooting range - as well as a cinema, bar and entertainment suite. It'll set you back £7,000,000 through agents Knight Frank.

"Steeped in history and glamour", say the agents, this Georgian country pile has nine reception rooms and 13 bedrooms. Designed by by Sir John Soane, it features a sweeping double staircase and stunning original features. There's a rumour that Johnny Depp's interested, though, so you may need to move fast to snap it up. It's priced at £5,750,000 through agent Sowerbys.

Near Droitwich, this "faux-Regency house" has nine bedroom suites and four receptions - plus a huge conservatory and an orangery. It has a well-kitted out leisure wing, with pool, gym, sauna, steam room and solarium. Set in parkland, it's approached by an impressive drive. You can snap it up for £9,500,000 through agents Andrew Grant.


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