MPs claiming for tax advice is ‘morally indefensible’

The Professional Contractors Group (PCG), which represents freelance workers in the UK, called MPs ‘morally indefensible’ after it was revealed that nine members of the Cabinet claimed for personal tax advice on their expenses. Gina Dyer reports.

Ministers used £11,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay for tax return processing. Alistair Darling, Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, David Miliband, James Purnell, Douglas Alexander, Geoff Hoon and Hilary Benn all made claims, but a Labour spokesperson insisted that the advice claims were within Commons rules.

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Comments

New opportunity

mikewhit | | Permalink

Strikes me that what MPs need is their own equivalent of the Managed Service Company - a provider that will sort out their accountancy/SATR needs, validate/'sanity check' (!!) their expenses, allowances, mileage etc., advise on mortgage, CGT etc. and ensure everything is 'transparent' and 'fair' for the taxpayer.

[The "MPMSC" could then represent to the MPs what a nightmare some of the tax system was as well !]

Come on AW members !

or would Gordo close it down at the next budget as a "loophole" ...?

What do MP's do with their Income?

Anonymous | | Permalink

Given that almost every possible day to day expenditure they incure is claimed back as expenses?

The sad fact is that we( you, me, press &media, etc) have known for many many years that this has been going on and I don't know why we are shocked now.

I recall a while back ( i think it was in 2007) That Channel 4 programme-Dispatches- had an episode on this very issue!

bookmarklee's picture

25 tax questions arising from the MPs expenses scandal

bookmarklee | | Permalink

I'd agree with "morally indefensible".Indeed that's one of the milder descriptions that springs to mind.

Two weeks ago I identified 15 tax questions that had yet to be answered in connection with the MPs expenses scandal. I've now added another ten in the light of subsequent revelations. If you're interested the list is at the TaxBuzz blog

(And yes Keith, one of the questions I propose concerns asking whether HMRC will utilise their new Sch 36 FA08 powers to visit any 'business' premises to visit the Fees office to check all salient information that should have been disclosed?)

Mark Lee
Tax Advice Network

Tax doesn't need to be taxing but..............

Graeme Lindsay Abdn | | Permalink

As the "MPs accountant" does not appear to be a member of any professional body, has he registered with HMRC as a Accountancy Service Provider?

Another one for the list Mark?

A Cheap shot....

MikeBellisimo | | Permalink

As The Honourable Mr Darling might have said

"Tax doesn't have to be taxing when you hire an accountant to do all the hard work and then reclaim his fee from you the taxpayer.

I want to pay the right amount of tax but frankly, I find all this Tax stuff a bit complicated. I blame erm...."

RebeccaBenneyworth's picture

A cheap shot, I know...

RebeccaBenneyworth | | Permalink

but learning that the Chancellor of the Exchequer needed help filling in his tax return did make me smile. There's a clever comment there somewhere, but I'm so spoiled for choice I can't come up with anything coherent.....

And what "Commons rules" would these be? The ones that state that expenses must be incurred "wholly and exclusively" in association with their role as MP?

Who needs safeguards now?

Anonymous | | Permalink

I do hope that HMRC will use the full range of their gleaming new powers as set out in Schedule 36 to the Finance Act 2008 when investigating the cabinet ministers.

Perhaps the Government might quickly realise that the statutory safeguards given to taxpayers are woefully inadequate.

Don'ts worry - we've got them!

Anonymous | | Permalink

AccountingWEB subscribers should be assured that Members of Parliament will not escape their tax obligations. A very senior SCI inspector has been appointed to head up Operation Hogwash, which will look into the affairs of all 646 Members of Parliament.

Every MP will undergo a self assessment full enquiry, and in some cases matters will be passed to SCI who will then proceed under the COP9 or CIF procedure.

It is not anticipated that The Treasury will reap large sums from this initiative, but MPs will receive a timely lesson on how the UK tax system works, and what the 'ordinary' taxpayer has to endure.