Category Archives: Tax

PMQ’s: Hypocritical Cameron slams Milliband over encouraging donor’s tax avoidance but Tories have been doing it for years!

 

0(Photo from Guy Fawkes blog)

During PMQ’s yesterday David Cameron took great pleasure in belittling Ed Milliband over the recent revelation that the Labour Party had advised one of its wealthy donors on how to avoid tax. He revelled in his schoolboy taunts accompanied by the usual mindless guffaws from Osborne and the rest.

This, of course, is business as usual from the shallow and integrity-deficient government benches. I’ve noticed over the hellish past three years that Cameron uses PMQ’s – when he turns up for it – primarily to blatantly ridicule  the front benches opposite instead of doing what we should expect a PM to do which is answering questions candidly.We’re paying him to turn up and inform us of what government are doing NOT engage in rowdy school yard catcalling. He comes across as a wannabe stand-up comedian rather than a serious statesman. And a pretty poor apology for one at that.

But by attempting to make party political capital from Labour’s tax avoidance gaffe he should be very careful because this is very definitely as case of the kettle calling the pot black.

Thanks to political commentator Paul Staines’ Guy Fawkes blog ( http://order-order.com/2012/07/02/tories-advised-top-donors-how-to-avoid-tax/) I discovered that generous Conservative Party donors have been offered advice on how to avoid tax through donating for years.

On the website of the Conservative Foundation –  

http://www.theconservativefoundation.co.uk/index.php?page=how

and with the declared mission ‘to strengthen the financial future of the Conservative Party’ they urge potential donors to ‘protect the country you love, defend the values you cherish’ by giving some of their wealth to the Party.

(Aside: One of the values Cameron definitely doesn’t cherish is honesty, see for instance http://wp.me/p2sftc-7TU)

Donors are encouraged to  leave some of this wealth to the Party when they die.In order to do this would be benefactors are directed to this link which explicitly mentions tax avoidance,

Obviously Mr Cameron didn’t realise when he opened his mouth in the Commons yesterday that he was putting his expensively shod foot right in it!

If you click on the link this is part of the advice you get:-

“How leaving a legacy can reduce your beneficiaries’ inheritance tax bill:

If the value of your estate is more than the current threshold your beneficiaries will have to pay inheritance tax (currently 40%) on anything beyond this.However, a legacy left to the Foundation can be subtracted from the value of your estate before inheritance tax is calculated – bringing the total value of the estate closer to the threshold so that any tax due can be reduced or even removed completely.”

According to Paul Staines ALL political parties give advice on tax issues to donors. And, of course, at present sadly its all perfectly legal.

We’re going to hear a lot more moralising about tax avoidance/evasion in the coming weeks as the G8 meeting gets under way. And I’ve no doubt Cameron and Osborne will be extracting as much political righteousness from it as possible. As we can see they’re in no position to stomp around over the moral high ground, as Cameron was doing yesterday.

This is dishonest politics and its time we stopped them.

A TAX THAT THE RICH COULDN’T AVOID.

English: The Land Registry

English: The Land Registry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DID YOU KNOW THAT TWO THIRDS OF  THE 60 MILLION ACRES OF LAND IN THE UK IS OWNED BY JUST 0.36% OF THE POPULATION?

At a time when so many people need decent, affordable housing, when house building is at an all time low and people are desperate for jobs the rich minority still squirrel away their wealth in tax havens to avoid paying their way. Some of these socially irresponsible people sit on undeveloped land that could be released for building projects that would provide houses and jobs for the many who need them.

By sitting on this land, waiting for its price to go up so they can sell it at a profit, these people can ‘earn’ millions without the inconvenient effort of hard work.

This month Class, the Centre for Labour and Social Studies have published a paper proposing something they call a Land Value Tax.

This would be a tax on all land except for that which lies under ordinary people’s homes. Wealthy homeowners would be expected to pay while those on limited incomes could defer payment.

In order to do this all land would have to be registered with the Land Registry. According to the report only about three quarters of land is currently registered and its proposed that enforceable, compulsory registration be brought in so the tax would be completely unavoidable. You can’t hide your land away in a tax haven!

The tax would be based on its ‘optimum permitted use’ so those sitting on undeveloped land watching its price rise in order to sell at a profit would be hit hardest. The report says this would give them a strong incentive to develop the land with a positive knock on effect of creating more houses and jobs.

The report’s author, Andy Hull, a freelance researcher and consultant states:-

“Devised carefully, it would demand a greater contribution from the wealthy – not least the international elite with their mansions in London – without affecting ordinary homeowners. And it would be one tax that the rich and powerful could not dodge.”

You can read the full report here:-

http://classonline.org.uk/docs/2013_05_Think_piece_-_In_Land_Revenue_(Andy_Hull).pdf