Amidst the ‘moral debate’ over tax avoidance and the announcement that public servants and BBC employees have been working ‘off payroll’ to avoid tax, the Daily Mail has reported that MPs are being ‘forced’ to pay back £230,000 of ‘dodged tax’…

134 MPs Dodged Tax
Following an inspection of MP’s tax returns, by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), 134 MPs have been forced to pay back £232,796 of dodged tax to the Exchequer; in 2010 650 MPs were selected, meaning nearly ¼ of MPs have dodged tax.

Data released under the Freedom of Information request reveals that the £232,796 of tax was dodged by the MP’s over a period of three years, running up to April 2010.

HMRC have refused to comment on those involved, although it has been reported that some of the 134 MPs have also been issued with HMRC tax penalties for failing to pay the correct amount of tax in their tax return.

“We carry out random checks on tax returns to make sure the right tax collected,” commented a spokesperson for HMRC.

Many MPs’ tax returns have been scrutinised by the Revenue, due to the fact that many members of parliament hold second job positions, in addition to their MP roles; Parliamentary salaries range from around £65,000 for a backbencher and £134,000 for a Minister: salaries’ on which MPs will earn extra income from additional jobs.

MPs’ additional income has been reported to come from renting properties, celebrity appearances on television, guest writing in newspaper columns and signing book deals, as well as top notch careers as lawyers.

Richard Murphy, from Tax Research UK, who agrees that MPs’ tax returns should be investigated by HMRC, said:Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK

“It is only right that MPs are scrutinised like this by tax inspectors. It should be more vigorous, as they have form when it comes to misclaiming. Look at all the stuff that came out during the MPs’ expenses scandal.”

Last year, Vince Cable, Business Secretary, paid a £500 HMRC tax penalty for an outstanding tax bill of £10,000, which related to additional income on top of his role in parliament.

The Daily Mail also reports that David Cameron earns additional income from a property that he rents out in London’s Notting Hill, whilst he and family are staying at Downing Street. Although, it is made clear that it has not been suggested Cameron is included in the MPs’ who have dodged tax.

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