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The Enfranchisement of Leaseholds, and the Taxation of Ground Rents, Chief Rents and kindred Charges on Land in England and Wales

  • Thomas Kyd (a1) and Arthur Wyndham Tarn (a2)

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The realm of England was claimed by the Conqueror and his successors on the throne. On the theory of possession by conquest, the feudal system of tenure was built and developed. The Sovereign granted land to his soldiers and favourites, or left it in possession of the ancient holders, at his own pleasure. In return, those who enjoyed the property undertook various obligations to the lord paramount, such as military services. The grants were at first made for the lifetime of the holders; but ere long the rights and duties were extended to the succeeding heirs. Landowners holding thus of the king conveyed portions of their estates to their retainers, in return for services to be rendered. These services were usually either of a military or an agricultural character. With the advance of time, the progress of civilization, and the development of the arts of peace, the latter mode of compensation for the use of land gradually superseded the former; and after the Restoration the feudal burdens were abrogated by law. Since the abolition of these uncertain incidents of land tenure, the obligations subsisting among the holders of the several rights and interests pertaining to lands and tenements have been reducible to a money standard, with at least an approximation to justice and accuracy.

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page 386 note * These conclusions are very fully borne out by the report from the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Town Holdings published in June 1892. The Committee agree that ground rents are already taxed, and that the imposition of a direct assessment upon them would lead to anomalies and inequalities. They declare the proposals for separate assessment of ground values and building values to be impracticable. They pronounce that no sufficient cause has been shown for interfering with completed contracts relating to payment of rates, and that such interference would inflict injury unfairly without any compensating benefit. But in regard to future contracts they recommend that local rates shall be equally divided between occupiers and owners, and that each owner shall be entitled to a proportionate deduction from the proprietor of the ground rate. This is the only change of the law that commends itself to the Committee. The main argument in its favour is, that it will bring the apparent incidence of rates nearer to their real incidence.

page 403 note * Page 375.

The Enfranchisement of Leaseholds, and the Taxation of Ground Rents, Chief Rents and kindred Charges on Land in England and Wales

  • Thomas Kyd (a1) and Arthur Wyndham Tarn (a2)

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