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New Zealand already has a capital gains tax – you may not know it | Instant News

Two University of Auckland researchers argue New Zealand already has taxes on its books that can be used to tax property investors. Photo / 123rf

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern may waive the capital gains tax, but there is already a tax on books that can do the job.

This is according to two University of Auckland researchers, who say that the CB6 section of the Income Tax Act has existed since the 1970s but is not widely known because it is rarely enforced.

However – if given a simple change – it could be turned into an effective capital gains tax that targets the profits investors make when buying and selling homes, Michael Rehm and Yang Yang said in a new research paper.

They argue that the recent skyrocketing house prices have brought the tax debate back into the spotlight.

And instead of considering the new tax, CB6’s section already states that anyone who buys land with the intention of making a profit from resale must pay income tax on those gains, Rehm said.

The government has not enforced this in the past because they think it is too difficult to know the intention of the buyer when making a purchase.

But Rehm said his decade-long analysis of rental housing purchases in Auckland showed nearly all had incurred initial losses and counted on the gains on resale to be considered a wise financial investment.

“This cash flow based stuff is a complete dog,” he said.

“The only rhyme or reason you’re going to invest in property is that you expect to get some sort of payment in the end.”

That means investors can safely be said to be acting as speculators hoping for house prices to rise – and that has broader consequences for society, Rehm said.

Auckland’s average selling price has now jumped to $ 1 million for the first time in October, while national prices have also ballooned to new highs, the Real Estate Institute reported.

This kind of price hike has further transformed housing from where Kiwis seek refuge and raise their families to golden geese treated as egg nests, Rehm said.

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It has two problems.

This helps create a rift in society between the rich, those who own property, and those who don’t, Rehm said.

And that’s funneling billions of dollars of investment from KiwiSaver accounts, stocks and businesses into real estate, where it yields less broad economic benefits, he said.

Politicians across many of the political spectrum have expressed similar concerns over rising prices.

Labor, the Greens and even the Reserve Bank this week suggested broader taxes were needed to help curb rising house prices.

Investors are already taxed like capital gains in the form of what is called a bright line test.

First introduced by the National Government in 2015, it initially required property investors who sold homes within two years of purchase to pay tax on their profits.

In early 2018, the Labor-led Government then extended the bright line test to five years.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Grant Robertson asked the Treasury Department to investigate further extension of the bright line test.

But changing taxation policies is fraught with political risks, given that opposition parties now accuse the Government of canceling its promise not to impose new taxes.

Researchers Michael Rehm and Yang Yang from the University of Auckland's Department of Property.  Photo / Provided
Researchers Michael Rehm and Yang Yang from the University of Auckland’s Department of Property. Photo / Provided

The Minister for Housing and Labor Revenue did not answer questions about whether they would consider investigating or implementing Rehm and Yang’s suggestions.

The Inland Revenue said it conducted a “very similar” study in 2014.

“It was concluded that there is systemic evidence of the turnover rate of residential properties, which is higher than normal,” he said.

“However, identifying possible speculative activity based on analytics and having enough evidence to prove speculative behavior are two different things.”

Rehm admits – even though the CB6 section already exists – enforcing it politically is another matter.

“I am not naive, I know this is a bitter pill that any politician should throw,” he said.

“I’m just trying to show that there’s a solution that’s already in the book.”

Two University of Auckland researchers argue New Zealand already has taxes on its books that can be used to tax property investors.  Photo / 123rf
Two University of Auckland researchers argue New Zealand already has taxes on its books that can be used to tax property investors. Photo / 123rf

He said the enforcement of the CB6 section would be more thorough than the bright line test because there was no time limit and also thought the analysis behind his paper was thorough.

His team used a new method to identify 117,000 rental property purchases in Auckland between 2002 and 2016, he said.

To calculate the profitability of purchasing a lease, his team then weighed the costs involved in running the various properties – such as home loan repayments, property management fees, and maintenance costs – against the rental income.

The results were clear, he said.

Leased property investment almost always goes bad compared to comparable investments when capital gains are excluded, Rehm said.

That means everyone is speculating on expectations the price will go up, he said.

“We beat our chests and said speculation is bad behavior and it needs to stop,” he said.

“But nothing has been done to try to persuade people not to continue speculating.”


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The government will bring up the Anti-Rape Act next week | Instant News

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan announced yesterday that he is bringing in a strict and holistic Anti-Rape Act next week in a bid to close all loopholes.

Speaking with Sindh Assistant Police Sub-Inspector Mohammad Bux Buriro by telephone, Imran Khan praised him and his daughter for their exemplary initiative and courage in catching Kashmore rapists. The prime minister said that the nation is proud of ASI Mohammad Bux Buriro and his daughter for having raised the image of the police in a positive way.

“The nation is proud of them and ASI Buriro has enhanced the image of the police in a positive way,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet. A young woman from Karachi is tricked by three men who bring her to Kashmore with the promise of a job.

Then, they gang raped her before selling her to Khairullah Bugti, a gang member, while the child was living with two other people. Then, he was released on the condition that he would attract other women. However, she approached the Kashmore police who helped her recover her daughter. On Thursday, Kashmore police arrested a suspect accused of kidnapping and raping a woman and her five-year-old daughter.

A case has been filed against Malak at the Kashmore police station under Sections 376, 344, 420 and 34 of the Pakistani Penal Code, which deals with rape, unlawful imprisonment, fraud and dishonesty and collective intentions. Then under the direction of Kashmore SSP Amjad Ali Shaikh, Article 365 PPC regarding kidnapping, and Article 6/7 of the Anti-Terrorism Law were included in the FIR. The FIR stated that the victim was offered a job on 25 October and then traveled to Kashmore, where Malak and two of his accomplices detained him and his daughter, committing gang rape at Malak’s residence.

According to the rape victim when she got to Kashmore, she said she and her daughter were sold and raped. “The perpetrators let me go but kept my daughter in captivity,” he said. Malak then freed the victim, telling him that he would only let his daughter go if he brought her another woman from Karachi. Police said they raided a place near the RD-109 area to arrest another suspect, Bugti, but he opened fire indiscriminately at police. Law enforcement officials, claiming that they took Malak to identify Bugti, arrested the latter and confiscated the weapon used to shoot Malak.


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The rescue ship Open Arms reached the coast of Italy carrying 250 migrants | Instant News

Spanish migrant rescue charity Open Arms has reached the Italian coast carrying about 250 migrants rescued from the sea, the organization said on Saturday.

The migrants have been transferred to a ship off Sicily’s west coast where they will initially live in quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The men were picked up in three rescues carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday, the charity said.

In one of the rescues, Open Arms arrested 111 people after the hull of their inflatable boat exploded off the coast of Libya.

During the operation, five bodies were also found. The death of a 6-month-old boy, said to be named Joseph and originally from Guinea, brought the death toll to six, the charity said on Thursday.

The baby who died, his mother and a pregnant woman were transferred to Lampedusa, Open Arms said.

Three migrants, including another baby, were flown to Malta for medical treatment.

For months, small boats carrying migrants depart from Libya and Tunisia, usually trying to reach Italy.

According to Italian Interior Ministry data, so far the country has registered nearly 31,000 migrant arrivals in 2020, compared with nearly 10,000 in the same period last year.


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The PM announced to bring up a holistic and strict Anti-Rape Act | Instant News

Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced to bring in a strict and holistic Anti-Rape Act, next week, to close all loopholes.

She spoke to Sindh Assistant Police Sub-Inspector Mohammad Bux Buriro by phone and praised her and her daughter for their initiative and exemplary courage in catching Kashmore rapists.

The Prime Minister said his country was proud of ASI Mohammad Bux Buriro and his daughter for raising the image of the police in a positive way.

It is important to mention that the defendant was involved in the kidnapping and gang rape of a woman and her five year old daughter in Kashmore.


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The government is trying hard to bring change, said CM Mahmood Khan | Instant News

MINGORA: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said on Saturday that the Pakistani government of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is trying to bring change to the lives of commoners.

Speaking at a public meeting after the inauguration of the Shamezai Drain in Matta tehsil and the supply of Sui Gas to the Matta and Khwzakhela regions, he alleged that the alliance of opposition parties was aimed at destabilizing the country.

The irrigation scheme will irrigate about 5,000 hectares of land for Bagh Dheri, Sambar, Ashari, Khararai and other villages. The Sui Gas supply scheme to the Matta and Khwzakhela areas will be completed in June next year at an estimated cost of Rs2.00 billion. Federal Communications Minister Murad Saeed, Minister of Agriculture Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhibullah Khan and Chairman of DDAC Swat were also present at the occasion.

The chief minister said that the corruptors had ruled the country for a long time. “Prime Minister Imran Khan is taking steps to hold accountable the corruptors, who are now fighting for the NRO,” he stressed. “The leader of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) is an unemployed person, who has long been out of Parliament, therefore he is putting pressure on the government,” he said. He said the recent explosion in Peshawar was the work of our enemy, who will be defeated through unity and devotion. He accused PDM leaders of slandering state institutions for personal gain. Mahmood Khan asked the PDM leadership to postpone the political meeting because of the threats. On the occasion, Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is determined not to give the NRO to corruptors.

“We know that the NRO league is united but we will never compromise on our principles,” he said. He said that being the true leader of the Islamic world, Imran Khan had raised the issue of Islamophobia and published caricatures of blasphemy. The Main Minister assured that all promises made to the communities in the merged area will be fulfilled. He said that mega projects such as Bus Rapid Transit, Swat Motorway Phase-1, Rashakai Economic Zone and others have been successfully completed and a number of new mega development schemes will be launched.


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