Britain Sends Aid to Mars

The Indian government has today announced plans to launch a mission to Mars next year. The $82 million project, funded in part by the British taxpayers’ money meant for starving children, will see an unmanned spacecraft set off for the Red Planet in November 2013.

The least they could do is plant a Union Jack…

Unions Help Teachers Pay Less Tax

Guido would like to express solidarity with £142,000 per year union fat cat Christine Blower, who has found an innovative new way to reduce her members’ tax bills. For all her moralistic demands that people “play fair on tax“, it turns out she wasn’t talking to union members. 

Unionised teachers are being advised that they can now claim tax back on their union subscriptions. Any member of the National Union of Teachers, NASUWT or any of the other major teaching unions is eligible to a generous rebate on their yearly union fees. Guido is thinking of a forming a union of yacht owners…

LibDems Offer Tax Avoidance Legacy Scheme

Back in July Guido revealed how both the Tories and Labour were advising their donors how to avoid tax through controversial inheritance schemes. Now it appears the LibDems have followed suit. Right at the beginning of this year’s conference guide yellow benefactors are encouraged to sign up for their new “legacy fund campaign“, where donors “leave a sum of money or a share of your estate to the Liberal Democrats“. Generous participants even get the chance to meet Tim Farron…

The LibDems have been slightly more subtle than their Coalition counterparts – rememberClick here to see how a gift to the Conservative Party can reduce your inheritance tax bill” – but it would appear that the boundary reform busters are up to the same trick. They note that “legacy income provides an important part of the funding for most major charities, and so it should for us too“, hinting that they will take advantage of inheritance tax loopholes to help their donors avoid tax. What was that about morally repugnant…

Tax Dodge Investigators Funded By Labour Non-Dom

The Inspector Clouseau hacks over at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism have prided themselves in exposing tax avoidance over the last few months. In March they worked with Private Eye to reveal Vodafone had used Swiss bank accounts to exploit a loophole in tax laws, while they have even gone after the Guardian for saving millions in the Cayman Islands. To say they have had a holier-than-thou stance would be an understatement.

Funny then that TBIJ‘s founder and chief benefactor, Labour Party donor David Potter, is a tax avoiding non-dom. Potter has given some £2 million to TBIJ since 2010 despite the fact that he has allegedly used his non-dom status to avoid paying income tax. It seems TBIJ are against tax dodging unless it’s done by the man who bankrolls them… 

That HMRC Stasi Document in Full

Guido had to check he hadn’t woken up in some Stalinist dystopia when he read that HMRC have been telling school children to tell their teacher if they suspect that their neighbours have been dodging tax. Lesson plans suggested by the government include asking teenagers to name any examples of tax evasion they can think of from their local area:

Anyone seen Mr. Gauke recently?

David Gauke Worked For Tax Avoidance Firm

Exchequer Secretary David Gauke has some nerve doing the rounds on tax morality this week. Yesterday Guido brought you news of Gauke’s past avoidance of stamp duty and his wife’s job at a firm advising tax lawyers, while today the Telegraph and Mail both splash on his claim that paying tradesmen cash in hand is “morally wrong“:

“Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the Revenue and means others have to pay more in tax. I think it is morally wrong.”

Guido can now reveal that Gauke himself worked for a company that specialises in helping the wealthy avoid tax. According to Debretts between 1999 and 2005 – when he became an MP – Gauke was a solicitor at Macfarlanes, a top city law firm with expertise on tax efficiency. They boast on their website:

“The tax efficient structuring of employee incentive arrangements is often a key requirement for our clients to achieve their commercial objectives. We have particular expertise in the structuring of tax efficient equity based incentive plans. We are able to develop innovative solutions to the most complex tax issues when necessary.”

Tax efficient equity-based plans, eh? Like those used by investment bankers perchance? Gauke must have made a success of finding “innovative solutions” to reducing his clients’ tax bills as he appears to be held in high regard by his former colleagues:

Guido feels Gauke should look in the mirror the next time he thinks about lecturing us on the morality of taxation…

David Gauke's Wife is Tax Avoidance Lawyer

This morning Guido named and shamed Treasury minister David Gauke – in his own words – as “morally repugnant” to be criticising others for their tax arrangements, but it doesn’t stop there. It turn’s out that Gauke’s wife Rachel is a professional support lawyer for Lexis Nexis, a company which boasts of its ability to “support every tax practitioner on the front line as they deal with the tax collector“. According to her personal profile Rachel “specialises in corporate tax law…and has advised on corporate restructurings, M&A, investment funds and finance“. Sounds like it an awkward weekend in the Gauke household…

Naming and Shaming the "Morally Repugnant" David Gauke

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke writing in The Times this morning says that they are going to name and shame tax dodgers. He also gives examples of what is fair and what is not:

Legitimate use of reliefs, for example taking out a tax-free ISA, is not tax avoidance. Buying a house for personal use through a company to avoid stamp duty, on the other hand, clearly is. Morally repugnant practices such as this are where the Government is cracking down.

 David Gauke MP claimed £10,248.32 expenses back from taxpayers to avoid paying the stamp duty and fees involved in the purchase of his home in London. Not only is that in his own words “morally repugnant”, it is beyond hypocritical to lecture others against doing what he himself did. It is shameless.

Tax Funded Union Research Backs Tax Funding of Unions

On the day that the consultation into union-leeches is launched, Unison have put out a report about facilities time. In a complete shock the union-funded research has found that unions taking money off  the taxpayer can only be a good thing. […] Read the rest

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George Osborne Demands Hooker Goes Down Chancellor is Super-Pimp

George Osborne’s Treasury has wreaked revenge on high-earning hookers after a £1,000-a-night tart was jailed over a £120,000 tax fraud. Donna Asutaits will go down for 16 months after being found guilty of evading taxes over a two year period in which she earned over £300,000.[…] Read the rest

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Hollande Outflanks Cameron From the Right

France’s socialist president François Hollande visited David Cameron at Downing Street today, but the afternoon press conference turned into a bit of an embarrassment for Dave as his opposite number threw up a few surprises from the right of the PM.[…] Read the rest

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Murdoch Men Mystified By News Corp Split

Guido hears that Rupert Murdoch’s decision to separate News Corporation’s money-making arm from its publishing arm left senior employees completely in the dark as to what lies in store for the future of the company. Chatting to News Corp employees last night, Guido was told chaos is reaching such a stage that hacks are only half joking when they say they have had to establish shadow newsrooms where the ultimate scoop is finding out whether or not they will be keeping their jobs.[…] Read the rest

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Labour Tell Donors How to Dodge Tax Too

Yesterday it was the Tories advising their top donors on how to avoid tax through a controversial “legacy” scheme. The story had considerable traction and unsurprisingly provoked considerable outrage among Labour MPs:

[…] Read the rest

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Tories Advise Top Donors How to Avoid Tax

Dave might think that Jimmy Carr is morally repugnant but that has not stopped the Tories from advising their wealthy donors on how to avoid tax. The Conservative Foundation, an organisation run by an array of Tory grandees and city types, is offering donors the chance to dodge inheritance tax through a scheme in which they leave a “legacy” to the Tory party. […] Read the rest

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Osborne Fuel-Turn Catches Greening By Surprise


Justine Greening to the Sunday Telegraph:

“The taxes that we get in fund the public services that we all rely on. Surely it’s better to challenge the petrol retailers to pass on reductions to motorists and actually I think that’s probably the most important thing to do.”

Treasury Twitter feed on Tuesday:

“Chancellor announces that August fuel duty rise delayed until January 2013 to help with cost of living.”

Sure that went down well in the Department of Transport.[…] Read the rest

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Carr in Reverse: Jimmy Says He's Done With Dodging

[…] Read the rest

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