Chuka Takes Donation From Tax Avoidance Firm

Chuka Umunna has received a £2,500 donation from a firm which advises its clients on how to swerve HMRC rules to help them avoid tax. Signature Tax paid the sum two weeks ago, with the money “received through the Labour Party to support the office of Chuka Umunna”.

According to their website, Signature Tax specialise in “non-DOTAS tax schemes”, structures designed to avoid HMRC’s Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regulations, which require those using tax avoidance schemes to inform the taxman. Accountancy Age explains how non-DOTAS schemes offered by Chuka’s donor bend the rules:

“Some of the (tax avoidance) promoters who used DOTAS numbers as tacit approval from HMRC initially, are now promoting schemes outside the DOTAS system. Some promoters are looking hard at their product lines and designing versions that escape the rules. Those rules have become so prescriptive, advisers say, that the longer they become, the easier they are to find holes in. For example, class action group Rebus claims to know of at least two promoters looking for non-DOTAS versions of old products.”

Signature Tax’s website also offers advice on “off shore” tax arrangements. Chuka has been a staunch opponent of such schemes, famously grilling former Barclay’s boss Bob Diamond over his bank’s offshore subsidiaries and urging him to close them down.

And who can forget when he called “on the chancellor to close in on tax avoidance, close in on tax loopholes and deliver greater tax justice.” Adding that: “It is time to close in on tax avoiders, recoup public money and ensure everyone in society pays their fair share.”

In light of this new information about his donor, will Chuka give the money back to avoid any allegations of massive hypocrisy?

Government Front Group Hires Lobbyist to Lobby Government

Save the Children is an organisation that gets 53% of its money from the government. You probably think of it is as a charity, yet it’s funding structure looks more like a quango that does a little fundraising on the side.

The group, that is dependent on handouts from the government, is looking to recruit somebody with a lavish salary and pension to lobby the same very government.

Round and round the money goes…

Premier League Already Pays £1.3 Billion in Tax Per Year

ed

Labour’s latest proposed tax on fun is a 5% compulsory levy on Premier League football TV revenues, announced by Harriet Harman this morning. The Premier League tell Guido that they already contribute £1.3 billion in tax revenues to the government annually, so it is inevitable that the cost will be passed on to fans. The cheapest season ticket at Arsenal for the coming year is £1,014, already a 3% hike on last year, while a Sky Sports TV package sets you back another £552 a year. Under Labour you would likely end up paying more. What cost of living crisis?

BBC Justifies Telly Poll Tax By Claiming Poor Watch More TV

The BBC claims that the licence fee poll tax is justified because poor people watch more television than better off households. With Director General Tony Hall appearing in front of the DCMS select committee this week, the Beeb’s Director of Policy James Heath blogged that a flat rate licence fee is fair on the poor because they watch so much TV:

“The argument for a uniform fee is that there is a direct link between the level of the service received by everyone, and the level of the charge made on everyone. While the licence fee does constitute a higher proportion of lower households’ expenditure, these households also consume more BBC TV than richer households.  As a proportion of household spending, the licence fee is lower than expenditure on many other household items, including transport services, communications, and fuel. Over the last five years the cost of many household items has gone up significantly in real terms while the cost of the licence fee has declined. The licence free represents a very small percentage of household expenditure – even for the lowest income decile, on average, the licence fee is around 1 percent of household spending.”

Dismissing people on a low incomes as a bunch of idle, square-eyed couch potatoes hardly seems in keeping with the liberal, progressive values of Aunty Beeb. If a right-winger patronised less well-off people by telling them a flat tax was value for money because they spend so much time in front of the telly, the Today programme would be in uproar…

The Death of the ‘Squeezed Middle’
Miliband Ambushed By More Harman Comments

The last PMQs before the summer break is one of the most important of the year, as it leaves a lasting impression about the leaders before MPs disappear off for the summer to stew. Poor Ed.

Miliband was just ambushed by Cameron on Harriet Harman’s comments to LBC that she thinks middle income earners should pay more tax. She’s having a great week…

Unsurprisingly, the audio is now being pushed out:

‘Yes I think people on middle incomes should contribute more through their taxes’

According to Ed, pointing this out the death of the ‘squeeze middle’ line is ‘desperate’. Expect to hear this line a lot more. Nightmare last outing before the long, hot summer…

UPDATE: The in-house journal of the Labour Party are not impressed:

Nor is the Tory press:

Bigmouth Strikes Again: Classic Hodge PwC Dodge

Question-dodging Margaret Hodge chaired a panel discussion in parliament this morning on tax transparency, wasting no time in piling into the ‘Big Four’ professional services companies for failing to use “copper bottom schemes” to prevent tax avoidance. Awkward then, that sitting two seats along from Hodge the Dodge on the panel is Shadow Exchequer Secretary Shabana Mahmood, who has just hired a new technical support analyst paid for by Big Four firm PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Indeed, a grand total of three Labour Shadow Treasury ministers have just brought in PwC staffers, paid for by the company, to help them with the Finance Bill. Not to mention Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna and a host of other Shadow ministers hiring from PwC in the past. The same Pricewaterhouse, of course, that Hodge herself used to work for. She really isn’t very good at this whole tax-y moralise-y thing, is she…

Cost of Taxation Crisis

Over the course of a year, the average British household pays more in tax than it spends on food, clothing, housing, fuel and power. As illustrated by this chart from the Taxpayers’ Alliance:

Click to enlarge.

Forget the cost of living crisis, Britain is facing a cost of taxation crisis…

WATCH: Gary and Dave in Happier Times

“It does help having an internationally renowned pop star with you, I must remember to take one with me everywhere I go.”

“Got your lipstick mark still on my coffee cup…”

Labour Would Cut an Oligarch’s Shopping Bill By £125,000

Labour’s VAT cut would do nothing to cut the costs of fresh fruit, veg or canned goods, despite what their new poster implies. It would however cut an oligarch’s £5 million shopping bill for a yacht, a Bentley, some jewellery […]

Labour’s VAT Bombshell Blows Up in Their Face

Another day and another Labour attack on Clegg. This time they are linking the Deputy Prime Minister to the VAT rise. Only one small problem: almost all of the products they have featured to explain how “they have put £450 […]

Pan-European Tax Burden Rising
Tax Liberation Day Receding

As Europe’s voters consider their choices here’s a list of their tax freedom days. Brits only stop working to pay for the welfare state next Monday:

tax-liberation-day
Typical workers across the EU saw their average real tax rate rise again this […]

Labour Finally Admit Bedroom ‘Tax’ is Not a Tax

Very helpful of Labour to provide us on Budget Day with a comprehensive list of tax rises that have taken place under this government:

The 24 Tory Tax Rises

1. VAT increased – to 20 per cent from 2011
2.

[…]



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Andrew Neil on the dying Dead Tree Press

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