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…”

Another Downing Street Comms Success

4:43pm:

5:06pm:

Awkward.

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…

Ed’s Evening With Evil Eric

Dave dodged the opportunity to ask Google supremo Eric Schmidt about his company’s commendable methods of legally maximising their shareholders’ profits when the pair met yesterday. Surely tomorrow Ed will keep his own promise and grill Schmidt about Google’s tax bill, when he is a guest of honour and keynote speaker at their Big Tent tech conference in Hertfordshire.

Presumably he won’t be repeating Margaret Hodge’s line about how Google “do evil” to his generous hosts, however…

WATCH: Tax For Dummies

The wonkish equivalent of a motherly lesson in life from the Taxpayers’ Alliance. Osborne’s suggestion that he would merge income tax and National Insurance two years ago has – surprise, surprise – gone absolutely nowhere. Hardly a shock seeing as the status quo lets him tax workers three times on the same income. It should be as easy as ABC…

Hodge the Dodge: Spot the Difference

Compare and contrast Margaret Hodge’s holier-than-thou hectoring for not answering questions with her own non-answers in her Kay Burley interview yesterday. Here is Hodge berating Amazon’s Andrew Cecil at the Public Accounts Committee:

“Well, I think what we are going to have to do is order somebody to come who can give us answers to the questions we ask. We will order somebody to appear before us who does that. It is just not acceptable. I don’t know what you take us for, but we need proper answers to perfectly proper questions, which are trying to establish the economic activity in this country, and therefore what would be a reasonable corporation tax due. That is our job. The idea that you come here and simply do not answer the questions, and pretend ignorance, is just not on. It is awful… I cannot believe you have come without the information-or they have deliberately sent you. We will order somebody who can answer the questions, in public… Dear, dear. Well, we will have to come back to this.”

And here is Hodge’s humiliating exchange on SkyNews yesterday:

MH: I’m not, I’m not, I told you, I’m not, I haven’t, you know I don’t have any dealings with the company day to day.

KB: But you did say that you were confident that every penny that should be paid in tax has been paid in tax. You’ve obviously looked into it?

MH: Yes, I’m confident.

KB: And 0.01% is enough?

MH: No it isn’t 0.01, it’s what they pay, what they pay, the profits they make on the business they transact in the UK.

KB: And how much is that as a percentage of tax?

MH: I, I, I mean I can’t give you that answer.

KB: But you did say that every penny has been paid in tax so presumably you have the figures?

MH: Sorry?

KB: You did say that every penny they should pay in tax has been paid…

MH: I, I also said to you I don’t work for that business. I’m a shareholder. I think you should ask the company if you have any questions.

“Dear, dear. We will have to come back to this”…

WATCH: Kay Burley Skewers Hodge the Dodge

Margaret Hodge got the full Kay Burley treatment this afternoon. After a day of grandstanding at her committee, she was left spluttering about her 0.01% tax bill. Hodge had the nerve to bring up the newspapers who retracted their own stories about Hodge and tax. She has never asked for a retraction from Guido for the stories that appeared on this blog, nor has she answered our questions about her family’s use of trusts…

Read Guido’s stories and unanswered questions here.

Cosy Relationship Hodge the Dodge Ignores

20130426-085348.jpg Some strong words from Margaret Hodge and the Public Accounts Committee as they release their report on tax avoidance today. Apparently the Big 4 accountancy firms have an “unhealthily cosy relationship with government”, saying it creates a “ridiculous conflict […]

A Tip-Off For the Guardian Investigations Team

Today’s Guardian splashes on millions of leaked emails revealing the “secrets of the super-rich” using offshore tax havens to hide vast sums of money from the Exchequer. One company was missing from the list: GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited, registered […]

After Merkozy, Whatever Happened to Hollibande?

François Hollande is at an all-time low after the Socialist government’s “Monsieur Propre” (Mr Clean), Jérôme Cahuzac, admitted to having a “bank account abroad” for the past two decades. The former budget minister with responsibility for cracking down on tax […]

Labour Advocate Tax Avoidance

Nottingham’s Labour council have found an especially underhand way of getting council tenants out of paying the bedroom tax: encouraging tenants to redefine two-bedroom flats as having one-bedroom. If Labour are standing by their line that the spare room […]



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Quote of the Day

Adam Spiegel, producer of Nazi themed “The Producers” musical says…

“Margate seemed a perfect place to start the promotion. I’m disappointed but not entirely surprised to see that UKIP are trying to hitch a publicity ride on the back of the show.”

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