Labour PPB Star’s Accountants Specialise in Offshore Tax Avoidance

Art Malik

In Labour’s new Party Political Broadcast Art Malik rails against tax avoidance, claiming “the government squeezes the less well off while letting the richest avoid paying the taxes that the rest of us do”Malik is the director of a company called ML&J Ltd. The firm, which claims to engage in “motion picture production activities”, employs as its company secretary one Gina Malik, Art’s wife. A textbook little trick used by hundreds of actors, musicians and entertainers.

ML&J Ltd is registered to 24 Bedford Row, London. Coincidentally, that is also the address of its accountants, Mehta & Tengra. On their website Mehta & Tengra do not disguise how they help their clients’ companies avoid tax:

“Our accountants can conduct a review of your firm to determine areas where they can reduce your corporate tax exposure with an efficient strategy… forward planning can ensure compliance and result in considerable tax savings.”

Not only that, Mehta & Tengra even offer specialist “offshore tax planning” services.

Labour’s new crusader against tax avoidance owns a company that employs his wife and is registered to the address of his accountant specialising in aggressive tax avoidance…

PM Resigns Over Panama Papers

The Icelandic PM…

Khan Backed By Tax Avoiding Offshore Fund Managers

khan OFFSHORE

Khan is no stranger to dodgy backers. In an attempt to clean up his murky image, his campaign released a list of 100 business backers in the Evening Standard last Friday. Most were drawn from the few business backers still loyal to Corbyn’s Labour. The list includes backers such as Saker Nusseibeh, CEO of Hermes Investment Management – a group that currently manages 15 offshore funds – as well as top RBS banker Martin Bailey and Bank of America VP Jacob Taylor. Taxpayer owned RBS shelled out €23.8 million to German prosecutors in December to settle a tax evasion investigation, and was lambasted for racking up £1 billion in tax breaks earlier this year, while Bank of America recently had to dismantle a special tax avoidance group in disgrace. Khan’s business support is drawn from the types of companies his leader wants to investigate…

Cameron: I Have No Offshore Trusts, No Offshore Funds

Faisal Islam: The leader of the opposition has called for an investigation into your tax affairs for your own interests. Can you clarify for the record that you and your family have not derived any benefit in the past and will not in the future from the offshore Blairmore Holdings fund mentioned in the Panama Papers?

David Cameron: Sure. Look, the investigation we need, first of all, is for HMRC, our tax authority, to use all the information that is coming out of Panama to make sure that everything is done, to make sure that companies and individuals are paying their taxes properly.

In many ways what is coming out of Panama is what we are introducing in our own country, which is a register of beneficial ownership, so everyone can see who owns what company.

I own no shares. I have a salary as Prime Minister and I have some savings which I get some interest from and I have a house which we used to live in which we now let out while living in Downing Street. And that’s all I have. I have no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds, nothing like that.”

As Guido pointed out this morning, it was always highly unlikely that he would benefit directly.

UPDATE: At this afternoon’s Lobby briefing No 10’s line is definitive: “To be clear, the Prime Minister, his wife and their children do not benefit from any offshore funds.”

Labour’s Brave Line on Tax Dodging Donors

tax hypocrisy mcdonnell

This is a pretty brave attack line from John McDonnell over Tory party donors who may have avoided tax:

“Is the Prime Minister happy to receive money from big donors who are accused of tax avoidance?”

Especially when you consider that Labour’s biggest donor Unite paid no corporation tax in 2011 and 2012, despite earning £5.78 million from their £51.6 million investment portfolio. The GMB union paid zero corporation tax on its investment income of £1.6 million, neither did the Community union on their income of £4.1 million for the period. McDonnell himself received £3,000 from Unite in 2014. As of last year who were Labour’s biggest non-union donors? Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, who have been slammed by the Public Accounts Committee for “promoting tax avoidance”To paraphrase, is the Shadow Chancellor happy to receive money from big donors who are accused of tax avoidance?

No, Cameron Did Not Answer Panama Claims in the Past

The news that David Cameron’s father ran an offshore fund which avoided paying UK tax is not new – four years ago the Guardian published an almost identical story revealing the existence of the “entirely legal network of offshore investment funds set up in tax havens such as Panama City”. The old Guardian story noted that since Ian Cameron passed away “it is unclear which family member owns them” because offshore investments are not included in the family will. Then, as today, Downing Street would not comment as it was a “private matter for the family”.

The ‘new’ information in the Panama Papers is just finer detail on the old story, though Cameron’s spokesman still refuses to comment on whether the PM has money invested in the fund, because they have “responded to these allegations in the past”. That isn’t true, last time they refused to give an answer. It is unlikely that Dave is a beneficiary – that would have been a risk tantamount to political suicide and we know he has since not exactly been rolling in it, the Camerons have largely been supported by Samantha’s father’s money in recent years. In the unlikely event it does emerge that the PM is the direct beneficiary of offshore money he would find himself in a situation similar to the Icelandic premier – he would have to go. It’s no good pretending he addressed this in the past, Cameron has the chance to clear this up once and for all…

IFS’s Damning Verdict On Osborne’s Budget

ifs copy

On last year’s £27 billion OBR windfall:

What Mr Osborne didn’t tell us yesterday is that rather than finding £27 billion the OBR lost £56 billion down that same sofa. As it happens, the total loss to the sofa across the two fiscal events is £29 billion.

That loss largely arises from changes in assumptions about future productivity growth feeding in to lower economic growth over the rest of the parliament. If the OBR is right about that we should all be worried. This will lead to lower wages and living standards, not just lower tax revenues for the Treasury.”

On Osborne’s golden public finance rules:

“Mr Osborne had three fiscal rules – the welfare cap; the rule which said debt should fall as a fraction of national income every year; and the rule to get to budget surplus by 2019-20. He broke his welfare cap in November, and it is now broken by a bigger margin. He told us yesterday he is on course to break his debt rule by the end of this month. The surplus rule is the last rule standing.”

On that same subject Dan Jarvis has a good line that “I’ve had goldfish that have lasted longer than Osborne’s rules”….

Tory Fury at Budget’s EU Stealth VAT

osborne EU

The EU-enforced tampon tax causing a cross-party rebellion isn’t the only example of Brussels stealth tax imposed in this Budget. Following a decision by the Court of Justice of the EU in June last year, the 20% VAT rate was also forced upon “energy saving materials”, previously taxed at just 5%. People who want to insulate their homes are being whacked by an EU tax hike. Worth reading John Redwood on this – it has gone down like a cup of cold sick with Tory backbenchers. 

Other areas covered by the EU’s barmy VAT rules include digital services like Netflix, now charged at the place of purchase. Not only this, British digital businesses selling products in EU member states are subject to local VAT rates, for example Croatian, Danish, and Swedish VAT rates of 25%, or even sky-high Hungarian VAT at 27%.

Osborne announced yesterday “We understand that tax affects behaviour. So let’s tax the things we want to reduce”By his own logic, the EU wants to reduce energy efficiency and online businesses…

Cracknell’s Coke Confession

Former Olympic rower James Cracknell, the thinking man’s Sol Campbell, has put his name to a new Policy Exchange report calling for a tax on sugary drinks. Cracknell, PX’s “Senior Research Fellow for Obesity and Physical Activity”, praises Mexico’s tax on sugar-sweetened drinks which caused purchases to fall by 12%, concluding:

“The human misery and drain on the public finances is so great that the government has no option but to intervene… [a sugary drinks tax] is on balance a sensible intervention to help prevent the rise in obesity”

Ironically this nannying tax would hit Cracknell himself. Three years ago, the failed Tory candidate confessed to Men’s Health his two “worst vices“:

“I used to put ketchup on everything… Now I just drink a lot of coke.”

Diet, presumably.

Of course, a tax on sugary drinks would disproportionately hit poorer families. And wouldn’t be noticed by multi-millionaire coke fiends like Cracknell…

H/T Christopher Snowdon

McDonnell’s Partially Published Tax Return

John McDonnell has published part of his tax return, declaring income of £61,575 in the year until April 2015, on which he paid £14,253 tax. Several eagle-eyed tweeters have pointed out that this is less than the £67,000 salary MPs were paid during this period. The discrepancy could possibly be explained by pension contributions, but the Shadow Chancellor’s team are in the Sunday Politics studio and aren’t responding to Guido’s texts. Sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation…

UPDATE: A chartered tax advisor gets in touch:

Either what he has published is a second job or he has been a numpty and put his MP earnings on the wrong page. MPs should use special pages called SA102MP for their MP earnings, not the normal employment pages. If he has used the wrong pages it doesn’t fill you with confidence about his competence to run the UK’s tax system!

hmp

So is it fakery or foolery from McDonnell?

UPDATE II: McDonnell now says he has published his “full tax return”, which was filled out by an accountant and can be viewed as a PDF here. Pension contributions do indeed account for the missing £5,000. Though where is his SA102MP form as required for MPs? HMRC say that form must be used if you were:

  • a Member of Parliament (MP)
  • a Minister in the House of Commons
  • a Minister in the House of Lords We deal with MPs and Ministers tax records separately.

He still has until midnight if he has forgotten…

Corbyn Guru Plugs ‘Joy of Tax’ Chez Ashcroft

Anglia Ruskin University are very excited to announce a series of free public lectures taking place on campus this autumn, where Corbyn economics guru and Cameron joke fodder Richard Murphy will “share his Joy of Tax”. According to the press release, loony left blogger Murphy “is credited with shaping Corbyn’s economic strategy, also advises trade unions on tax policy. He is the author of The Joy of Tax and a founder of the Tax Justice Network”. The contents of the lecture will not exactly be kind to, say, former Belize-based tax exile non-doms. Appropriate, then, that it “will take place on Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus in the Lord Ashcroft Building”…

Shock: Labour Back Cut in Corporation Tax

“We believe that we can tackle the deficit by halting the tax cuts to corporations,” says Labour’s new Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. So Guido is not sure what he is going to make of his party supporting the Tories’ corporation tax cut in the Finance Bill debate last night. In a curious exchange between Treasury minister David Gauke and his shadow Barbara Keeley, Labour strangely backed the move:

Barbara Keeley: “Labour is in favour of support for businesses, which is what we need to discuss as we consider the clause. We want to help British businesses to invest in the UK and to enable long-term investment. We will support the corporation tax measures…”

David Gauke: “I begin by welcoming the support of the hon. Member for Worsley and Eccles South for the reduction in corporation tax… I certainly give way to the hon. Lady, who can confirm her party’s and, indeed, the shadow Chancellor’s support for this measure.”

Barbara Keeley: “I do not think it would be my place to confirm the shadow Chancellor’s support for the measure…”

David Gauke: “I note that the hon. Lady said that although she is able to make a statement about party policy as the Labour party Front Bencher in this Committee, neither the leader of her party nor the shadow Chancellor are in a position to do so. If that is the way the Labour party operates, that is one for that party, curious though it might be to the rest of us.”

The question of “Rate of corporation tax for financial years 2017-2020” – i.e. to be cut to 18% – was then put and agreed to.

Wonder what McDonnell makes of that!

Corbynomics Guru Gets Brillo’d

Obscure tax blogger and Twitter eccentric Richard Murphy is now unofficially advising Corbyn on his economic policy. Readers will remember Guido’s past stories on the hypocritical ‘tax justice’ campaigner, well today he got Brillo’d on the Daily Politics:

Including such gems as:

“One of the ideas I’ve got is to create modest amounts of inflation…

At the moment I would add to the deficit…”

Coming soon to a Tory attack ad near you…

Douglas Carswell v Owen Jones

Douglas Carswell wasn’t going to let Owen Jones get away with saying “I want to pay more tax”…

Who does he think he is, Charlotte Church?

How Sugar Tax Would Affect You

sugar tax

Prohibitionist doctors from the British Medical Association have published a report demanding an extra 20% tax on sugary drinks in order to fight obesity. Including VAT, that would raise tax on a can of deliciously refreshing coke to a whopping 40%…

Osborne Spectacularly Trolls Renewable Industry

Osborne’s Budget announcement that green energy producers will no longer be exempt from the Climate Change Levy is driving the renewable industry into meltdown. The levy used to only apply to non-renewable energy but, in a spectucular trolling exercise, now businesses have to pay this green tax even if they are purchasing green energy:

Caroline Lucas: “We’ve seen yet another example of reckless short-term policy making that prioritises the profits of polluters over the public interest in a safe and habitable climate”

RenewableUK: “It’s another example of this government’s unfair, illogical and obsessive attacks on renewables”

Greenpeace: “This will make it more expensive for business to buy electricity from renewable power. He is man out of step with the times” 

Friends of the Earth: “This is totally bizarre, making renewable electricity pay a carbon tax is completely counterproductive — like making apple juice pay an alcohol tax” 

The green tax raid on green energy producers will raise almost £1 billion a year. Hoist by their own petard…

Bob Crow’s Memorial Tax

BOB-CROW-MEMORIAL-TAX

The cut in housing benefit for under-occupied state housing was mis-named by Labour as the ‘Bedroom Tax’, for want of a snappier description. The official title of ‘Spare Room Subsidy’ was by comparison an also-ran. Despite being a benefit reduction the ‘Bedroom tax’ became the standard title used by the BBC…

Labour might call George Osborne’s proposal to make higher earners living in state housing pay market rates a ‘tax on success’ or an ‘aspiration tax’ or some such. They are perhaps brainstorming the best phrase right now for Harriet Harman to use. The most famous high earner in social housing was the late Bob Crow, who by not moving out and using his salary to buy a house instead denied a dwelling to a family lower on the income scale in greater need. This made a mockery of the Marxist mantra of ‘to each according to his needs’. Crow rented for clear ideological reasons.

The ‘Bob Crow Tax’ seems the obvious name for this measure. In Bob’s honour… 

Gordon’s Tax and Benefits Mess

tax+benefits

According to an ONS release today the mythical average household is £31 better off after taxes and benefits are taken into account. Think about all the complexities of tax collection collection and benefit calculation, the bureaucracy and time wasted. It really is time for a lower, flatter, simpler, single income tax…

The statistics also confirm that after 5 years of “we’re all in it together” that Osborne has raised taxes on the richest 20% and reduced the burden on the poorest 20%.  The bottom quintile are net recipients of just over £10,000 in welfare transfers from those who actually pay taxes. Will no one stand up for the wealth creators?

Voice of Angel to Critics: “Hopefully Your Dick Will Fall Off”

church

Charlotte Church spent her Saturday marching with the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – whose aims include “increasing taxes on the super-rich” and “closing tax loopholes”.

As Guido revealed in the Sun on Sunday, this is the same Cardiff crooner who is the director of five companies all registered to the London address of Thomas Harris Accountants.

Alligator Wine Records Ltd, Charlotte Church Ltd, PACC Music Limited, Bounce Publishing Limited and Chick Flicks Ltd are all conveniently based at the firm’s offices in Merton Abbey Mills. Thomas Harris boast on their website:

“Lowering and deferring tax is, of course, a key aim… We can make your capital as tax-efficient as possible, taking advantage of allowances and reliefs of which many people are unaware, and ensuring you pay no more tax than you need… [including] tax-efficient gifting strategies”

What would her new comrades say about such sharp practices?

Seems Charlotte is finding her newfound critics rather taxing:

Voice of an angel, vocabulary of a drain…

Charlotte Church U-Turns on 70% Tax Pledge

church2

Charlotte Church’s mission to be reborn as a poundshop Russell Brand continues. The singer yesterday told an End Austerity Now protest that she would happily pay 70% income tax if it were to improve public services. In 2010 was reported to be worth £11 million.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Alan Sugar on Jeremy Corbyn:

“It’s clear you alluded to students refunds to get votes from young impressionable people. You are a cheat and should resign.”

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