- The UK Wealth Tax Commission is calling for a one-off tax on the wealthy to help with coronavirus recovery.
- The experts behind the report say the proposed measure could raise 260 billion pounds — or around $348 billion.
- It wouldn't be the first time that the UK has imposed a one-off tax.
- Earlier this week, Argentina voted to tax the super-rich.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
One-off taxes on the wealthy — with the money going towards coronavirus costs — are gaining more traction.
Argentina voted to tax the super-rich earlier this week. It will only apply the top 0.8% of the population, who have assets over 200 million pesos ($2.5 million) — just around 12,000 people. The government hopes to bring in $3.3 billion with the measure.
And now the UK's Wealth Tax Commission is calling for a similar measure. Their proposal: a 1% tax for five years on individual wealth over £500,000. The experts behind the report say a tax of this kind could raise £260 billion (just over $348 billion). If the tax was levied only against those with £2 million, it would still potentially raise £80 billion.
The authors of the report note that one-off taxes were enacted under both Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"A one-off wealth tax could be seen in a similar light now, sharing the burden of paying for the crisis across those with the broadest shoulders," Lord Gus O'Donnell writes in the report's foreword.
In November, San Francisco voters passed a tax on business owners and top executives who earn at least 100 times more than one of their average workers. CEOs that earn 100 times more would be taxed an additional 0.1% on their business tax payments; the surcharge increases to 0.1% of however much more they earn.
The money from that tax, not a one-off, is estimated at between $60 million to $140 million annually, and will be put toward addressing pandemic-related disparities.
Arizona voters also passed an additional income tax this year on high earners. The money from that tax — potentially $940 million — will go directly to public education.
Some millionaires have already been agitating for similar measures. In July, 83 millionaires — including Abigail Disney and Ben & Jerry's cofounder Jerry Greenfield — signed on to a letter asking for higher taxes to help pay for coronavirus recovery.
The ultrawealthy signees (including nine UK millionaires) called for a permanent wealth tax.
"The problems caused by, and revealed by, Covid-19 can't be solved with charity, no matter how generous," the letter said. "Government leaders must take the responsibility for raising the funds we need and spending them fairly. We can ensure we adequately fund our health systems, schools, and security through a permanent tax increase on the wealthiest people on the planet, people like us."
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