After last nights promice on Newsnight – the four main (Conservative, LibDem, Labour and Green Party) hopefuls for the London Mayor election have each produced details of their income and taxes. There now however is speculation over the transparency of the details produced and in particular the delay in Ken Livingstone producing his tax and income details.
GuidoFawkes.com has implied that the figures produced by the Labour candidate are only a partial summary of his income/taxes stating that it is based on personal tax/income and not his company’s tax details in full (Guido Fawkes) and that the figures were not produced by an accountant but by a former member of his team; his Climate Advisor, when he was Mayor of London.
It also raises concern over why he is paying himself through dividends rather than a salary and questioning whether Ken has been taking advantage of the National Insurance exemption in doing this.
LibDem hopeful Brian Paddick not only produced his full tax return over the last three years but in a slight oversight in his attempt to produce these figures neglected to shield the details of his personal National Insurance and home address for the public to view. Boris Johnson also had produced his tax details showing he paid 45.1 per cent of his income in tax in 2010/2011, a rise from 36.8 per cent in 2009/10.
On the Ken4London site the following statement has been produced to cut fares has been produced and a letter from his team to the parties concerning the details of Ken’s income and tax posted as this article goes to press.
The spectator online magazine have accused the Ken and his Labour team of silence in the delay of the details accusing his team of not answering the why the details were not ealier forthcoming. The Labour team had put out the following statement
‘We believe household publication is necessary for full disclosure as the question of Ken’s income and his wife’s income and their tax has been central the coverage of this issue. Publication of Ken’s returns alone will not address many of the questions that have been raised. The only way to answer all the questions about this issue and to move the debate on the real issues facing London is for full household income disclosure. This should apply to all the candidates equally to avoid any further questions about the income and tax affairs that may or may not be applicable to them through their households. The same principles need to be applied to all the candidates if this process is to be seen as open and fair.”
The Government has issued a call for evidence as part of its consideration of the integration of the operation of the income tax and National Insurance contributions systems, announced at Budget 2011. This is a preliminary stage of consultation, and aims to build a strong evidence base on the burdens to employers of having to operate two different systems. Responses to this call for evidence will inform the Government’s proposals for reform, on which it will consult in the autumn.
The two systems are currently operated entirely separately and the Government believes that greater integration of the two has the potential to remove economic distortions, reduce burdens on business, and improve fairness for individual earners.
The call for evidence document poses 14 questions, the majority of which focus on the burdens employers and payroll professionals face in paying income tax and NICs through the Pay As You Earn system. For example, how much staff time and other resource is required to manage the systems, which aspects of the process currently work well and how often problems are encountered when calculating payments.