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Wednesday 21 March 2012

Boris And A Tax Return

Still yielding some mileage for the Ken bashers in the London Mayoral contest is the idea that the Labour challenger should release his tax return. This is a strange request, given that Livingstone has already volunteered the information that he paid himself around £55,000 last time round: all that a tax return would show is that this is indeed the case.

Competition for City Hall hotting up

So why the suggestion? This, once more, appears to be the result of ignorance on the behalf of all those who have already been suckered by Andrew Gilligan, well known purveyor of dodgy journalism, into believing that his using a limited company to handle all his income streams makes Livingstone some kind of terrible hypocrite with something to hide.

After all, to see what is happening with Silveta Ltd, the company Ken and his wife jointly own, there would be little point in just looking at his tax return. The company’s full accounts would also have to be consulted to get the full picture. Even then, there would inevitably be much spin applied to any information obtained, with the result that nobody would be happy and the debate would be moved no further forward.

But perhaps that is all the Ken bashers want – to mire the Labour campaign in having to explain one bogus accusation after another. In any case, if one Mayoral candidate has to release their tax return, all the others should do the same, especially any with those multiple income streams, which brings the discussion to the current occasional incumbent Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Bozza gets his Mayoral stipend – around £140k – which is apparently taxed as per any employee of the GLA. But he also garners around £250k of “chicken feed” from the Maily Telegraph for his weekly column. If, as Bozza told the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his tame gofer, the flannelled fool Henry Cole, at the Guido Fawkes blog, he has “self employedbut not limited company status, that is all taxable.

Moreover, most of it is taxable at the highest rate, as will be any other income he has received in the past year. There will be little scope for expenses deductions – after all, the story has already been spun that Bozza rattles off his weekly offering during his Sunday rounds and emails it in from wherever he’s having lunch. No additional travel or other costs would seem allowable.

So the Boris tax return should show an income of at least £390k, few expense deductions, and income tax paid well north of £175,000. That would be one heck of a way to put one over on Livingstone, and would show the Mayor really setting an example and shouldering his share of the tax burden. So why isn’t he leading the way in the tax return stakes? Unless there is something we haven’t been told.

D’you know, I’m starting to warm to this tax return business. Your move, Boris!

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