More trouble for UK's David Cameron after his tax records go public

In an unprecedented decision, David Cameron today released his tax records to defuse the growing anger over his father's offshore business that threatened his premiership, but the bold move appears set to plunge him into more trouble over 200,000 pounds he received from his mother

PTI| Last Updated: Apr 10, 2016, 20:11 PM IST
More trouble for UK's David Cameron after his tax records go public

New Delhi: In an unprecedented decision, David Cameron today released his tax records to defuse the growing anger over his father's offshore business that threatened his premiership, but the bold move appears set to plunge him into more trouble over 200,000 pounds he received from his mother.

Cameron released a summary of his tax returns from 2009-15, and also revealed that his mother transferred two separate payments of 100,000 pounds (collectively USD 280,000) to his accounts in 2011, allowing the family estate to avoid a potential 80,000 pounds worth of inheritance tax.

The move came a day after Cameron admitted in an emotional speech to the Conservative party's spring conference that he "should have handled this better" and "will learn the lessons" from the row triggered by the so-called Panama Papers leak.

The accounts disclose that Cameron has declared nearly 1.1 million in earnings over the past six years and paid 400,000 pounds in income tax.

Cameron, 49, published the six years' worth of accounts in a dossier in an bid to end speculation about his tax affairs after one of the most difficult weeks of his premiership.

The release – never before done by a UK prime minister or political leader – shows that his approach to his finances is not dissimilar to many other middle-class families.

However, there are further questions over a 200,000-pound gift from his mother, which is being perceived as a move to avoid inheritance tax. It emerged that his mother transferred two separate payments of 100,000 pounds to his accounts in 2011, allowing the family estate to avoid a potential 80,000 pounds worth of inheritance tax.

The payments by Mary Cameron to her son in May and July 2011 were given tax-free, and will only become liable to inheritance tax of up to 40 per cent if she dies within seven years of handing over the money.

Downing Street said the payments were an attempt to "balance" the sums received by all their children.

The figures show that, on top of his income as Prime Minister, his 50 per cent share of the rental income on the Camerons' family home in London amounted to 46,899 pounds, he received 9,834 pounds in taxable expenses from the Tory party and 3,052 pounds in interest on savings in a high street bank.

The figures show that when he first entered Downing Street in 2010, he benefited from a 20,000 pounds tax-free allowance as part of his 142,500 pounds salary, although in subsequent years he did not take advantage of the long-standing perk available to occupants of Number 10.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Cameron had more questions to answer.

"We need to know what he's actually returned as a tax return. We need to know why he put this money overseas in the first place, and whether he made anything out of it or not before 2010 when he became prime minister. These are questions that he must answer," Corbyn said.

The issue is set to dominate proceedings when the British Parliament reopens after a 17-day Easter break on Monday.

Yesterday, Cameron said he was to blame for the handling of revelations about his investment in his father's Bahamas-based Blairmore Holdings fund.

The fund was named in the leak of 11 million documents belonging to Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca (MF). They showed Ian Cameron had been an MF client when establishing the fund for investors.

"It has not been a great week. I know that I should have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them," Cameron said.

As he was speaking, hundreds of angry protesters carrying placards reading "Tories Out" and "Cameron Must Go" marched up to Downing Street calling for Cameron's resignation.

He has announced a new task force - led by Britain's tax authority and the National Crime Agency - to investigate tax-dodging allegations in the Panama Papers. The task force will investigate the leaked documents to identify clients of the Panamanian firm suspected of money laundering and tax evasion and publish its findings later this year.

The Panama Papers revelations have sparked a storm around the world, including in India, where high-profile figures have been implicated for tax avoidance.

Cameron has been under increasing pressure as he previously refused to give details of his family's money held offshore in a Caribbean tax haven.