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PM releases tax returns data amid row

BBC News BBC News 9/04/2016
David Cameron © Getty Images David Cameron

David Cameron paid almost £76,000 in tax on an income of more than £200,000 in 2014-15, figures released by the prime minister have shown.

He earned £46,899 from his 50% share of rent on the London family home in Notting Hill, the first such papers released by a prime minister reveal.

The disclosure comes after Mr Cameron admitted he could have better handled the row over his financial affairs.

He also announced a new task force to investigate tax-dodging allegations.

'Not a great week'

This comes at the end of a week of questions and successive statements over whether Mr Cameron had owned and sold units in an offshore fund run by his late father, Ian Cameron.

Details of the fund had been contained in a leak of 11 million documents, known as the Panama Papers.

The figures released by the prime minister show:

In 2014-15, David Cameron paid £75,898 in tax on £200,307 earnings

Protesters outside Downing Street © Getty Images Protesters outside Downing Street

On top of his prime ministerial income, and the London rent, he last year received £9,834 in taxable expenses from the Tory party and £3,052 in interest on savings at a High Street bank

He and his wife Samantha made a £19,000 profit from the sale in 2010 of their shares in the Blairmore Holdings fund

Mr Cameron declared a £9,501 share of that profit, below the then £10,100 capital gains tax threshold

He earned enough to benefit from the 2013 cut in the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p (for people earning more than £150,000)

In 2010 when he first entered Downing Street, he took the prime ministerial expenses deduction - a £20,000 tax-free allowance - as part of his £142,500 salary

But he voluntarily cancelled out the allowance by declaring the equivalent amount as taxable income from 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14, before waiving it from 2014-15

The PM said he was publishing the information to be "completely open and transparent" about his financial affairs.

Analysis

By BBC political correspondent Iain Watson

Outside the Conservative spring conference on Saturday protesters called on the prime minister to come clean about his financial affairs. Now he hopes he has provided the proof that he has done just that.

David Cameron has produced a summary of his tax affairs. Downing Street says that is to aid clarity and is similar to information other politicians have put in the public domain. 

David Cameron income 2014-2015 datapic © BBC David Cameron income 2014-2015 datapic

None of the details suggests he didn't pay what was due. There is, however, further proof of his wealth - something which his opponents will hope is a political liability.

And there will be questions over whether income from share dividends which he derived while opposition leader came from other overseas trusts as well as from his late father's investment vehicle.

But while Labour will argue that the prime minister is still too opaque when it comes to transparency, some Conservative politicians worry he has revealed too much.

There may be pressure on other cabinet ministers including the chancellor to go public. And some fear if tax no longer remains a private matter, successful people could be dissuaded from going in to politics.

Addressing the Tories' spring forum on Saturday, Mr Cameron had said he was to blame for the handling of revelations about his investment in the Bahamas-based Blairmore Holdings fund.

"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," he said.

"Don't blame Number 10 Downing Street or nameless advisers, blame me."

As he was speaking, hundreds of protesters marched through Whitehall calling on Mr Cameron to "close tax loopholes or resign". 

David Cameron income 2009-2015 datapic © BBC David Cameron income 2009-2015 datapic

Furore

The fund was named in the leak of documents belonging to Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. They revealed Ian Cameron had been a client of Mossack Fonseca when establishing the fund for investors.

The prime minister first promised his tax return data in 2012 but details for the past seven years have now been made public in the wake of the furore over the documents.

BBC political correspondent Carole Walker said the decision to publish the tax returns data would keep the prime minister's finances in the headlines.

But Downing Street felt the only way to move forward was by confronting the issue head on with an unprecedented level of detail, our correspondent said, adding however that Labour was in no mood to let the row drop.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has committed to publishing his own tax return "very, very soon, when I've got the papers together", insisting there were "no surprises there".

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has demanded an "open and public" inquiry into the Panama Papers revelations on offshore funds and tax havens.

London rent

Mr Cameron's tax schedule from RNS Chartered Accountants also showed:

As leader of the Opposition in 2009-10, Mr Cameron paid £43,483 in tax on £129,225 income

After entering Downing Street for the year 2010-11, he paid £56,155 on a taxable income of £157,286

In 2011-12 his income rose to £200,919, boosted by his share of rent from the Camerons' Notting Hill home, and he paid £77,987 in tax

In 2012-13, he paid £72,472 tax on an income of £189,506; in 2013-14 he paid £76,288 on a £200,735 income

The prime minister's salary was steady at £142,500 from 2010 to 2015, but there were tax variations due to treatment of his pension contributions and the different approaches to his £20,000 tax-free allowance.

In terms of rent earned on the Notting Hill house, Mr Cameron's 50% share, minus expenses, was £45,041 in 2011-12, £46,700 in 2012-13, £47,764 in 2013-14 and £46,899 last year.

Mr Cameron inherited £300,000 when his father died in 2010. He was later given two payments of £100,000 by his mother in May and July 2011 in an attempt to balance out the legacy between Mr Cameron and his siblings.

The new tax task force announced by Mr Cameron will have initial funding of £10m and involve staff from the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority as well as HMRC and the NCA.

The government said the agencies had leading technology, experts and resources to tackle money laundering and tax evasion.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said proposals for the task force to report to the chancellor and home secretary were "unacceptable".

"Any inquiry must be fully independent and in public," he said.

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