Monday, September 2, 2013

Why Mansion Tax is Electoral Suicide

Knight Frank has crunched the numbers and calculated that to raise the target £2 billion, the mansion tax would have to start at £1.25 million, hitting 775,000 households. This would of course be levied overwhelmingly on London and the South East, 86.4% of the properties affected would fall in these areas. Calling it a “mansion” tax is grossly disingenuous too:  just 36% of these “mansions” are detached. 31% are terraced, 22% are flats and 11% semi-detached. Is a terraced house in Merton or Wandsworth, like the one above, really a mansion? 

The table below shows the top ten local authorities with the highest number of homes that would be affected by the mansion tax:

Click to enlarge.

If he has any sense Tory chairman Grant Shapps is right now crafting a mailshot to every single one of those 775,000 homeowners…

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tory Councillors Spend Taxpayer Money to Dodge Tax

Kent County Council has spent over £5,000 of taxpayers’ money on financial advisers in order to challenge an HMRC decision to tax their travel expenses. Tory council leader Paul Carter clearly really, really doesn’t want to have to pay tax on the expenses he claims for ferrying himself around Kent. So much so that he has even proposed a 47% increase on councillors’ mileage allowance. Well if you can’t abuse your position as a councillor to ensure you pay less tax, what’s the point?

Via Kent Online.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Labour Lessons in Reducing Your Tax Bill to Zero

KenCo “paid every pound of tax he is required to by law”, said Ed. Nothing wrong with the Labour leader’s own inheritance tax avoidance either. Nor the £210,000 tax dodge by the owners of the former Labour HQ. Not to mention the John Mills donation given to the party in shares to avoid a bill from the Exchequer. Or those clever little legacy schemes that help donors reduce their own inheritance tax bills. Now another perfectly legal means of avoiding tax: Labour has reduced its corporation tax bill from £561,000 to zero by offsetting expenses and previous tax losses. Despite a £2.8 million surplus. One for Margaret Hodge to investigate with her usual vigour…

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Does this Government Care About Middle Class Families?

Guido knew that the structure of marginal tax rates following a decade of Brown’s insidiously stealthy taxation and redistribution was malformed. How malformed was only driven home after reading a note from the Centre for Policy Studies. It is obscene how this government has punitively taxed the middle classes…

marginal-tax-rates

The CPS use a simple not atypical example of a married man with two children, who has no savings or investment income, and no student loans. Factoring in allowances and changes to child benefit, his marginal rates will be as above. A middle-class single income family with 2 children and the father earning £50,001 will have a marginal tax rate of 59.5%. You don’t have to be a fully paid-up member of the Taxpayers’ Alliance to think that is far too much.

Next year will be the thirtieth anniversary of Nigel Lawson’s 1984 Tax Reforms. George Osborne says he is Lawsonian, if the Chancellor wants a legacy and the gratitude of the electorate, simpler, flatter, fairer taxes would be the right thing to do. It might win back the middle classes at the ballot box as well…

Friday, June 21, 2013

Red-Faced Nigel’s Offshore Trust Fund

Nigel Farage has admitted he set up an offshore Isle of Man trust fund in 2003 for tax reasons. His accountants tell the Mirror he made no money from it though:

“It was a mistake for three reasons. Firstly, I’m not rich enough to need one and I am never going to be. Secondly, frankly, the world has changed. Things that we thought were absolutely fair practice 10 years, 20 years ago, 30 years ago aren’t any more. Thirdly, it was a mistake because it cost me money. I sent a cheque off to set it up.”

Though you can hardly say UKIP are in favour of anything other than lower tax bills, it’s tricky given Farage criticised the Isle of Man in particular in the EU parliament recently. He’s feeling the heat this morning. Welcome to big boys’ club…

UPDATE: Farage did have a go at the EU’s tax free salaries recently, though he defended the legality of tax havens and blamed high taxes for the need for tax havens. Not so hypocritical…

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WATCH: Dave’s Tax Dodge Dishonesty

Brutal stuff from Dave on Labour’s tax avoiding donor:

“It is this government that is putting aggressive tax avoidance at the heart of the G8 agenda, and what do we hear this week from the Labour Party? They give tax avoidance advice to their donors.”

His bluster was the only highlight of a dull PMQs, though this is utterly dishonest from the PM. Miliband might be in hot water here, though the truth is that all parties offer tax avoidance advice to their donors, Labour, the LibDems and the Tories. As Guido reported last summer, Cameron’s own legacy scheme helps donors “reduce or even remove completely” the inheritance tax liability of rich Conservative backers.

All parties advise donors on how to avoid tax on their donations. Dave is in no position to take the moral high ground. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Labour Tax Dodge Could Pay For 70 A&E Nurses For a Year

Miliband’s tax dodge during the Q&A after his speech was nowhere near good enough to make the questions go away. Ed vows that the reason the Mills donation was made in shares is because “he wanted the Labour Party to have a steady stream of income which we will get from dividends”. When Mills himself was asked why he donated shares he said: “To be honest with you, it is the most tax efficient way of doing this. Labour has got people who deal with compliance and the legal side of all this. They are very sensitive nowadays”. One of them is lying.

The Telegraph’s accountants works out that had Mills chosen to make a donation of that size in cash, he would have had to pay £1.46 million to HMRC. Guido calculates that Labour’s efficiency trick has cost the Treasury enough money to pay for 70 A&E nurses for a year. What was that about an A&E crisis, Ed?

Tellingly it seems no Labour MPs are willing to come out and defend his position. Which reminds Guido of an anecdote shared by in house tax avoidance expert Margaret Hodge earlier this week:

“I have to share with you the classic email I had on one occasion, where I had to talk with Charlie Falconer about some shared responsibilities, and I got a speaking note from officials. It said:

“I’ve drafted up a one-page what-to-say and what-not-to-say. If there are any awkward, direct questions, it is entirely open to you to say “That’s a matter for you Lord Falconer”. You might be wise to do so. Sympathetic nods; “hmm”, “interesting” and “ah I see” are good too.”

So, I was well and truly told what was expected of me as a Minister.”

Would explain the silence from Labour MPs today. Perhaps Hodge can investigate…

WATCH: Miliband Dodges Tax Question

He says that Labour will pay tax on their dividends, but that wasn’t the question was it Ed? The key point is that John Mills avoids paying tax himself by giving the money to the party in shares. For some reason Miliband dodged that. No denial that Labour advised Mills on how to donate the money in a tax efficient way either…

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Deadline Day For MPs’ Expenses Claims Today
Happy Tax Freedom Day!

Are you an Honourable Member yet to get his or her money’s worth from the taxpayer this year? Fancy an iPad, laptop, or maybe if you’re feeling particularly piggy a cosy little rent-swap this Thursday morning? There are just a few hours left for greedy MPs who have left it late to submit expenses claims for this financial year. Guido’s source in IPSA is expecting a fair few claims to come in on deadline day, so it isn’t going to be a cheap one for the taxpaying public. Fill your boots.

Ironically, today is also the ASI’s Tax Freedom Day. This means that for the average citizen, today is the day you start to actually keep the money you earn; everything you have made so far this year went to the state in tax. Perfect timing.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

UKIP Call on HMRC to Investigate Hodge the Dodge

UKIP economic spokesman Godfrey Bloom has gone after Margaret Hodge, demanding that HMRC “investigate unanswered questions from C4 News, Sky News and Guido Fawkes about her ‘knowledge’ of the tax affairs of her family trust”:

“It beggars belief that Hodge stated that her family company paid ‘every penny’ of the tax it owed although later she admitted that did not know how much tax it actually paid. Yet, this woman is chairman of the House of Commons Public Affairs Committee. Hodge comes in at No 15 on the Times’ Politicians Rich List, with a mere £18m tied up on the family business, which is in a family trust so there is no inheritance tax to pay.  One rule them and one for the rest of the plebs?  I call on HMRC to investigate.”

Always one to help expose tax hypocrisy, here are a few questions HMRC should ask:

  • Why Hodge claimed that “I am a tiny, tiny, tiny shareholder” in Stemcor when her direct shareholding is worth £1.8 million.
  • Why Hodge holds several million pounds more worth of Stemcor shareholdings in trusts.
  • For what purpose Hodge holds these shareholdings in trusts other than to reduce the risk of a future tax liability.

As Hodge the Dodge said herself last week, “I think what we are going to have to do is order somebody to come who can give us answers to the questions…”


Seen Elsewhere

Reeves Red-Faced After Pension Gaffe | Sun
Band’s Fury at Song Being Used at Labour Conference | Buzzfeed
Rachel Reeves’ Pension Howler | Mail
UKIP Propose 90% Cut in Overseas Aid | Breitbart
Ed Milibaaaand | Sun
Ed Miliband Phrase Generator | Guardian
Blair Right About ISIS | Jago Pearson
Miliband Will Be Prime Minister By Default | Alex Wickham
Labout Have Learned Nothing | Jeremy Warner
How Cameron Can Return to No. 10 | Telegraph
Balls Speech Was Mush | FT


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Before Miliband spoke, a school choir sang ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay. The first verse of which goes like this:

“When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse”



cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


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