9am Lowdown: PM releases tax returnby
Good morning. Here is this morning’s 9am Lowdown.
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PM releases tax return
The Prime Minister released his tax return over the weekend in an attempt to silence criticism following the Panama papers fallout.
According to his tax return, David Cameron claimed the £20,000 prime ministerial expenses deduction, paid £75, 898 in income tax, and earned £47,000 from his share in renting out his family home in West London.
However, Cameron has come under fire after his mother gifted him £200,000 following his father’s death which could have been used as avoiding inheritance tax. Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn still had unanswered questions: "We need to know why he put this money overseas in the first place, and whether he made anything out of it or not before 2010 when he became prime minister.”
Cameron’s act of transparency has prompted other political leaders and MPs to follow, with Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon being the latest to publish their tax return.
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Small businesses attack digital record keeping
The Administrative Burdens Advisory Board (ABAB) has voiced their concerns against the government’s digital record keeping plans saying the quarterly updates would “be more burdensome than they currently are”.
According to The Guardian, the ABAB has said that the mandatory digital record keeping would lead to increased compliance costs and will have “a big impact on the smallest of businesses.” Mike Cherry, the Federation of small businesses chairman, also raised concern, saying: “Forcing small firms to pay for expensive digital accounting software so they must submit extra tax returns is not going to help anyone.”
Urging HMRC to consult with small businesses, Tessa Graham, the chair of ABAB said: “The small businesses that are not tech savvy might struggle [with the new system] – I don’t want them to struggle four times over. We are asking HMRC how they are going to assist businesses in this transition
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HMRC chief linked to offshore fund
HMRC’s executive chair has been linked to the Blairmore Holdings fund created by David Cameron’s father, which was one of the companies named in the Panama papers leak.
According to The Guardian, the Simmons & Simmons law firm Edward Troup worked for before joining the civil service has reportedly received a letter from a legal watchdog asking them to inspect their files for connections to Mossack Fonseca. An HMRC spokesperson denied Troup had any dealings with Mossack Fonseca. According to the spokesperson, Troup was unaware of the company, and he never advised any individuals named so far.
In regards to HMRC’s Panama papers investigation, the spokesperson said: “The governance in place at HMRC means that any commissioners who have a potential conflict of interest would exclude themselves from any investigation or settlement involving a taxpayer with which they had had dealings in their previous careers.”