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Sunday, December 13, 2009

The cost to the taxpayer

Chris Huhne has told the Observer that in his estimation, Zac Goldsmith's non-domiciled tax status has cost the British taxpayer nearly £6 million over the last ten years. This is despite that fact that he is estimated to have a personal fortune of at least £200m, inherited from his late father, Sir James Goldsmith.

Mr. Huhne has calculated that Goldsmith is likely to have avoided, at a conservative estimate, around £580,000 a year in UK taxes over the past decade as a result of being defined as a non-dom. In reply Mr. Goldsmith dismissed the figures as "fantasy", and said that the "vast majority" of his income comes to the UK and is taxed here. In return Chris Huhne challenged the Tory to publish his tax returns to prove it and he would do the same:

Huhne said last night that anyone wanting to become an MP should be fully transparent about tax affairs. "Someone who wants to pass laws about tax in this country ought to pay this country's full taxes, and not hide behind the special offshore status of non-doms.

"Zac Goldsmith, even on the most conservative estimates, has avoided vast amounts of British tax by deploying the non-dom tax dodge. If he challenges our estimate of how much tax he has dodged, then I put to him a simple challenge. Publish your tax returns for the past 10 years, and I will publish mine."

Goldsmith is in further difficulties because according to the paper Green groups who have questioned his environmental credentials are also asking why businessmen and companies who profit from the oil and gas industries are giving the Tories increasing amounts of cash:

An analysis by the Observer of donations given to the party shows that six companies and individuals who profit from the oil and gas industries have begun to give it money over the past year. In the current quarter, it received a £50,000 donation from "Future Pipe Industries". This firm, registered in Britain, is "headquartered in Dubai" and by headed by a UAE resident, Rami Makhzoumi. He told one newspaper: "In recent years the oil and gas market has been our fastest growing end-market due to the overall level of investment in the sector globally, and especially, in the regions in which we operate."

Majid Jafar, 33, who is from the United Arab Emirates, has given £40,000 to the party over the past year. He is the executive director of a family oil firm, Crescent Petroleum Group, and a member of the board of directors of Dana Gas PJSC. He is also a director of Gulftainer. He previously worked for Shell International in its exploration and production and gas and power divisions.

The party has also received £55,000 in the last year from John Dodd, a founder member of Artemis Capital. More than a third of Artemis's "Alpha fund" is invested in oil and gas.

David Cameron's 'blue is green' campaign looks quite shallow in the light of those figures.
Wow thats a hell of alot of money.
Looks like Zac Goldsmith MP for Richmond Park is the main fantasy now
Yes, but he has been putting money into the Conservative campaigns in other constituencies (as has that other person of dubious domiciliary status, Lord Ashcroft).
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