Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tony Blair: Tax cheat?

Back when he was campaigning to be British Prime Minister, Tony Blair was harsh about tax cheats, saying:

For those who can employ the right accountants, the tax system is a haven of scams, perks, City deals and profits.

"We should reward people who work hard and do well. We should not make our tax rules a playground for revenue avoiders and tax abusers who pay little or nothing while others pay more than their share."

Now that he's a former Prime Minister paid millions of pounds a year as a "consultant" for bankers and autocrats, its a different story:
When you have already spent half a million pounds on rent, £300,000 on furniture and £2.3m paying your staff, an extra £8m on unexplained “administrative expenses” might seem to be stretching credulity, but that is what Tony Blair has told Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which as a consequence has received a rather smaller cheque from the former Prime Minister than it might have expected.

Records sent to Companies House reveal a substantial leap in Tony Blair's income in the year ending March 2011, but such a rise has not been passed on to the taxman. One of his many companies and partnerships, Windrush Ventures, declared a turnover of £12m, up from £8.5m the year before. But Mr Blair's accounts claim that just over £1m of this is profit, the rest written off as "administrative expenses", with no further explanation given for some £7.74m of the total. With the corporate tax rate at 28 per cent, this left Mr Blair with a tax liability of only £315,000.

It seems that Blair is now engaging in exactly the sort of dishonest cheating he once criticised - all of course while receiving a massive state pension and armed bodyguards for life courtesy of the UK taxpayer. Sadly, given Blair's past displays of hypocrisy and insincerity, its not exactly surprising.