A useful example of why we'd prefer a land value tax to business rates

The essence of a land value tax - this is without getting all Georgist about it, making it the single tax, or taxing away the entire rental value - is that it is the value added to the land by the activities of other people which is taxed. Mayfair land is worth more because 10 million other people have built London around it. Tax is going to come from somewhere, why not from that value created by the 10 million? 

Our current system of land taxation, rates, doesn't work this way at all. Rather, it tries to tax the value added by the owner of the land, entirely a different concept:

Supermarkets could be owed as much as £300m because of an ongoing legal wrangle about the business rates paid for cash machines, which threatens to heap additional financial pressure on the struggling industry.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which is responsible for administering business rates, issues an initial bill which retailers then check against the size of their shops, often resulting in a refund.

But these claims have been put on hold while a case about whether ATMs are part of supermarkets or not is fought through the courts. The Court of Appeal will hear the latest stage of the case later this month.

The VOA is arguing that ATMs located both outside and within a shop should be assessed separately for additional business rates, and that retailers should pay the business rates taxes on them in addition to their normal store rates.

ATMs are generally of value to the people passing by. They're also value that the holders of the land add to the environment about them. Not things which the society around adds to hte value of that plot.

It's an entirely different concept of taxation therefore. We want people to improve their own land to the benefit of the rest of us - why tax it therefore?

Land value taxation is the much better concept.