Monday, 1 March 2010

Will Lord Ashcroft pay his back taxes?

It has taken quite some time but Lord Ashcroft, a Tory peer and major party donor has finally admitted he is non-domiciled. This means that although he pays some tax in the UK, he does not pay tax on all of his interests. As everybody with the slightest interest in the political world has known this for some time it is hardly news.

Lord Ashcroft is a Deputy Chairman of the Conservative party and is currently using his millions to fund campaigns to elect Conservatives in target seats. The BBC suggests he has spent £4 Million in Tory target seats in recent years and that he has been the largest single Tory donor since 2005.

However, credit where its due. Lord Ashcroft has finally come clean. About time too! He now appears to say that, if his party leader, dear Dave, goes through with plans for “anyone in the Lords to be resident and domiciled” he will pay UK tax. Mind you he doesn’t state this explicitly. Oh no. He says he agrees with Dave’s plans on the Lords and that he expects to be sitting in the Lords for many years. Maybe he knows that Dave won’t get around to requiring the Lords to be ‘resident and domiciled’ for many years.

I can’t help but compare this to a Mr or Mrs Jo Public who rely wholly or partly on benefits. Their status changes, maybe through employment, it could just be a few hours extra work. If this is not declared, and the relevant agency finds out about a change in status, immediate amendment to benefit payments will be required. Mr or Mrs Public will also have to pay anything that has been overpaid.

Surely Lord Ashcroft is effectively over paying himself. He is not giving up the tax that we ordinary citizens have to pay on the money that we earn. Now he implies that, if the law changes, he will pay UK tax. About time too. But my question is will you be paying your back tax Lord Ashcroft?

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