Jeremy Corbyn releases return to show tax transparency

Jeremy Corbyn speaking outside parliament
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Jeremy Corbyn used the end of tax return season as an opportunity to put tax transparency back on the political agenda.

Yet even the leader of the opposition can’t escape being put on the wrong tax code. When Corbyn published his tax return this week, the documents revealed a one-off £6,442 tax payment. A source said the Labour leader paid the amount due to “administrative error” after he was assigned the wrong tax code.

For the fourth time since becoming Labour leader, Corbyn published his tax return, urging other politicians to “lead from example” and publish theirs. “I believe that if we aim to reform our tax system to be more transparent, then politicians must lead by example,” he said.

 “In government, Labour will crack down on the scourge of tax avoidance and evasion and will put full transparency at the heart of our programme.”

The Islington MP’s paper return showed he paid £27,870 in tax on his MP earnings of £79,807 and a further £10,787 in tax on his £43,717 earnings as leader of the opposition.   

Elsewhere, Corbyn collected £6,648 in state pension and a Unison pension of £2,438.07 that incurred £975.20 tax. He also listed a £1,075 Gift Aid payment

Three years ago, he submitted his return five days late and suffered a £100 penalty. He learned his lesson this year and filed the return in good time on 22 January.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell followed suit and released his tax return on 11 February. Like Corbyn, McDonnell didn’t use any supplementary pages to include trusts, capital gains, foreign income or income from UK property.  

While neither Theresa May or Chancellor Philip Hammond have taken Corbyn and McDonnell up on their challenge and released their tax returns, back in April 2016 politicians rushed to get their tax returns into print.

Transparency one-upmanship

Politicians from all parties tossed their tax returns around like confetti to one-up each other on transparency in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations. Then-prime minister David Cameron was the first to release his ‘tax summary’ in an effort to ward off criticisms of his father’s Blairmore Holdings offshore company.

However, Cameron also admitted that he had other capital gains. At the time, tax lecturer Giles Mooney scoffed: “Publishing UK tax return to show you’ve not hidden anything is like me showing you a picture of salad to prove I’ve given up cake.”

When shadow chancellor John McDonnell released his tax return in 2016 following the Google tax settlement, eagle-eyed AccountingWEB readers spotted a discrepancy – the shadow chancellor had not disclosed the member of parliament form required from MPs. Some readers were sympathetic towards this “elementary error”, while others pointed to the likely explanation that HMRC does not yet allow online filing of MP pages.

Corbyn’s challenge for other politicians to prove their tax transparency mirrors the more public Scandinavian model, where Norwegian citizens’ annual tax returns are posted online. The transparency means workers can see how much their colleagues earn, or how much their local politician paid in income tax. 

About Richard Hattersley

Richard Hattersley

Richard is AccountingWEB's Practice Editor. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.

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14th Feb 2019 20:08

I can't see where JC has declared his Rag & Bone business. Also, I thought that old McDonnell had a farm, yet I can't see any sign of that either.

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By DJKL
to Justin Bryant
14th Feb 2019 23:13

Old MacDonald not Old McDonnell, McDonell being a variant from Clan Donald- the one time Lords of the Isles.

McDonnell possibly has a more Irish connection than MacDonald ,which is more Scottish ,though this is not certain, it certainly seems to have a large Irish influence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Donald

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to DJKL
15th Feb 2019 10:21

No Sh*t. Much more importantly you've failed to correct the fact that JC is not actually a Rag-n-Bone man (and just bears a striking resemblance to a well-know fictional one). What happened to Friday humour here?

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15th Feb 2019 09:20

It was odd that Corbyn had no savings, as not a single £1 of interest was declared. Doesn't seem to be putting anything aside for his retirement!

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to alan.rolfe
15th Feb 2019 09:43

alan.rolfe wrote:

It was odd that Corbyn had no savings, as not a single £1 of interest was declared. Doesn't seem to be putting anything aside for his retirement!

Eh? He could have tens of thousands squirrelled away. It doesn’t have to be taxable savings.

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to alan.rolfe
15th Feb 2019 10:44

Whilst I am a Labour party member, auditor for the CLP, and I support Corbyn, I'll simply say, Peer. retirement provision not required.

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to alan.rolfe
15th Feb 2019 12:44

ISA springs to mind

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to alan.rolfe
15th Feb 2019 13:21

A legal enthusiastic tax avoider.
‘ISA, ISA, baby’?

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By jcace
to alan.rolfe
18th Feb 2019 17:05

Untaxed interest: £1.00

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15th Feb 2019 10:23

It is easy to have nothing to hide when you have nothing

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15th Feb 2019 10:45

Quote:
He learned his lesson this year and filed the return in good time on 22 January.

I bet his accountant didn't think it was "In good time"

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to SteLacca
18th Feb 2019 13:56

That is exactly what I was thinking. I will accept 30 November as good time but nothing later.

And as for all this pension provision talk, you don't put what is in your pension fund on your tax return. That's the point.

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15th Feb 2019 11:00

I heard he filled in a paper return - I'm read somewhere that we now do this things 'on line'?

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to memyself-eye
15th Feb 2019 11:18

memyself-eye wrote:

I heard he filled in a paper return - I'm read somewhere that we now do this things 'on line'?

MPs can’t file online. The MP forms can only be filed on paper.

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15th Feb 2019 16:10

Ahh..so it wasn't late then

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