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…”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another Downing Street Comms Success

4:43pm:

5:06pm:

Awkward.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Miliband’s Google Glass House

Just one problem with Ed’s Google-bashing this afternoon:

Guido readers will know that HuffPoUK is owned by AOL Limited, whose parent company is the Luxembourg-registered AOL Europe Sarl.

In 2010 AOL UK Limited, HuffPo’s esteemed owners, had a revenue of £78 million. Despite that they paid just £122,000 in corporation tax, cleverly moving £30 million out of the reach of the UK tax authorities by “repatriating” a dividend payment to a tax avoidance special purpose vehicle (SPV) AOL Europe Sarl, registered in the tax haven of Luxembourg. This meant, despite returning 38% of revenue to shareholders, they had an effective tax rate of less than 1%. Guido looks forward to Ed’s article attacking AOL and HuffPo for “going to extraordinary lengths to avoid paying taxes”. His spokesman insists that “all companies need to be responsible.”

Further reading on HuffPo’s tax avoidance hypocrisy:

James Tobin: Lefty Tax Campaigners Misuse My Name

A great little nugget in the FT this morning: before he died Professor James Tobin, he of the ill-advised Tobin Tax, accused loony lefty tax campaigners of misrepresenting his ideas: “I have absolutely nothing in common with these anti-globalisation rebels. They’re misusing my name”. The 2001 interview with Der Spiegel makes for very interesting reading:

“I appreciate attention to my proposal, but many of the praise comes from the wrong side. Look, I’m an economist and, like most economists, an advocate of free trade. Moreover, I support the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization — everything that these movements are attacking. They’re misusing my name…  I feel that I’m being misunderstood and that my name has been wrongly co-opted for other people’s priorities. The Tobin tax offers no platform for the reforms that these people are seeking. But what can I do? Their intentions are good, I assume, but the proposals are badly thought out.”

For some reason you don’t hear that quote from today’s ‘Robin Hood’ wannabes…


Seen Elsewhere

Users of Gay Hook-Up App Grindr Infected | TechnoGuido
ISIS Raising Funds Online Using Bitcoin | TechnoGuido
UKIP’s Youth Challenge | BBC
ISIS Operative: This Is How We Send Jihadis To Europe | BuzzFeed
Shapps Defends Bashir Defection | Seb Payne
Tory Leadership Contenders Jostle Over Europe | Alex Wickham
Cutting Taxes is Good For You | Art Laffer
Suspects Will Now Have to Prove Innocence | Laura Perrins
Labour Cllr: Cops Shouldn’t Stop Petrol Thieves | HandF Forum
Creeping Cultural Acceptance of Anti-Semitism | Eric Pickles
Time For Greece to Leave Eurozone | Allister Heath


Rising Stars
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Boris on British Jihadis. Apparently based on MI5 intel:

“If you look at all the psychological profiling about bombers, they typically will look at porn. They are literally w***ers. Severe onanists. They are tortured. They will be very badly adjusted in their relations with women, and that is a symptom of their feeling of being failures and that the world is against them. They are not making it with girls, and so they turn to other forms of spiritual comfort — which of course is no comfort.”


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