Sunday, May 10, 2009

HMRC to investigate MPs

Hooray! It seems that Mer Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)—not, you will note, Members of Parliament's Revenue and Customs—is to investigate whether MPs have been illegally avoiding Capital Gains Tax.
The crisis over parliamentary expenses reached new heights last night as it emerged that HM Revenue and Customs is to investigate whether MPs have deliberately evaded capital gains tax when selling their second homes.

News of an inquiry by tax officials, which follows days of leaks about the way MPs have exploited the Commons' allowances regime for private gain, will inflict further damage on the already battered reputation of parliament.

Good. Let's see a few of these fuckers put in jail. I, for one, would love to see whether Hazel "Chipmunk" Blears remains so perky after she has spent a few years being raped in every orifice by a gang of butch prison lesbians wielding bits of splintery wood. And perhaps it would cure Harriet Harperson of her penis-envy too.

Not to mention seeing a prison-broken Gordon Brown develop another, special twitch whenever the words "shower" or "soap" are mentioned.
In a separate development, in an article for today's Observer, Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, describes the behaviour of the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, as "near-fraudulent" in relation to her expense claims.

Smith registered the house she shared with her sister in south London as her primary residence, allowing her to claim the parliamentary allowance of up to £24,000 for her family home in Redditch, Worcestershire, where her husband and children live.

"One has to be careful with the word 'fraudulent'," Graham writes, "because in the criminal sense there needs to be guilty intent. However, it seems to me there may be intent here and in similar cases that have emerged. People seem to be thinking, 'What's the best way to use the system so I can maximise the personal financial return to myself?'"

Oh, really—ya' think? Of course, they have been doing that and I really don't think that it will be too difficult to prove intent. Not difficult at all.
Graham's comments brought an immediate reaction from Smith. Her spokesman said that the home secretary would be seeking legal advice about what he had said.

Yeah? Good luck with that, Jacqui...
"This is a malicious falsehood, and implies that Jacqui is lying. He seems intent on attacking her without examining the facts of the case," the spokesman insisted.

Oh my! Jacqui lying? Say it ain't so... But Jacqui might want to be very careful over going to court: and Graham and The Observer might want to call on Mr and Mrs Taplin—Jacqui's sister's neighbours in South London—who promised to testify if it ever came to court.

I would absolutely love to see Jacqui Smith personally and financially ruined by a libel case: it would be the icing on the cake, frankly.

In general though, I can only echo Guido's sentiments (incidentally, his servers seem to be failing him yet again).
Benefits in kind going undeclared by MPs and flipping primary residences to evade capital gains taxes will now be investigated according to a statement released by HM Revenue Commissioners.

Listening to the politicians who lecture us on redistribution and tell us “it is right that those who have more, pay more” explain why they evaded capital gains taxes is going to be fun. Fun for Guido at least. In fact it is like all Guido’s Christmases have come at once. Smeargate followed by the total exposure of the reality of politicians' troughing venality and lack of integrity is everything Guido has ever wanted.

Quite. Your humble Devil is over the moon and is having to stitch up his sides—split from laughing his arse off for four days straight.

Now the only thing that could complete my glee is to see loads of them lose their seats, be charged for fraud, be imprisoned, be financially bankrupted (to go along with their morals) and to have their personal reputations utterly destroyed.

I want to see these fuckers humbled—no, I want to see them ruined. I want to see these arrogant, authoritarian cunts crawling in the mud; I want to see them homeless and helpless; I want to see pictures of them being forced to claim benefits and being spat at in the dole queues.

That would be justice.

UPDATE: disappointingly, Jim Pickard at the FT seems intent on bursting my fantasy bubble.
Plenty of speculation around today that HM Revenue & Customs is looking into the curious way in which MPs can designate a property as their main home (with HMRC) and as a second home (with the Commons) at the same time.

This phenomenon - which means no need to pay stamp duty - has been reported on before in recent years. Hazel Blears is the latest MP to be caught doing it.

But I’m not entirely convinced by the Observer story that HMRC is poised to “probe” MPs.

I’m told by someone at the department that it’s entirely up to the MP which property they designate at the same home. What they tell the Commons officials is irrelevant, apparently.

Whilst this had crossed my mind too, please say it ain't true...


Angry Exile said...

Sure, technically you need to prove intent in a court, but all that really means is convincing a jury that the thieving bastards meant to do it, and I'd have thought a halfway competent and all the way drunk lawyer could manage that. The hardest part might be finding a dozen people in the UK who aren't already convinced of guilt, without which the light fingered cunts can claim it's all prejudiced.

North Northwester said...

Ye gods, I'm loving this!

Big-state, high-tax gut-crumpets at risk of facing the law, from what has been a pretty compliant Civil Service - till now.

Maybe the bureaucrats have realized there's an election coming, and one thing that the European Union allows the nuclear-armed county council called Parliament to do is to discipline its own members..

Two cheers for HMRC.

Can'r stop smilin' said...

I think you're letting them off light Devil.

Give 'em a few years on death row with a few brushed aside (cheaply) appeals, then string 'em up.

I'd like them to (in addition to everything you say) know what it feels like to be a citizen in a country where your interests are seen as irrelevant.

Viva la revoloution!

Mark Hendy said...


Please indulge me in a teeny weeny correction if you will. They have not been illegally avoiding, as avoiding is not illegal. They have been illegally evading which is a criminal offence with a further offence of money laundering to be added to the charge sheet. Tax evasion is serious enough, but money laundering is very very serious indeed and can carry many years in prison if proven in a court.

I do hope that we see some proper prosecutions following and of course assets seized under the MLR too which is a legacy of NuLabours own making.

Anonymous said...

Writing as a tax expert, this line is pointless, I'm afraid. The tax rules of which the likes of Blears have taken advantage are exactly the same for MPs as they are for everyone else. The rules are, additionally, very generous and remarkably easy to fall within. The supposed HMRC probe is chaff thrown up to detract from issues of greater concern.

Anonymous said...

HMRC bosses are up the States arse--they won't (pardon the pun) do shit, whatever hot air they belch.

Sir Henry Morgan said...

" I want to see these fuckers humbled—no, I want to see them ruined. I want to see these arrogant, authoritarian cunts crawling in the mud; I want to see them homeless and helpless; I want to see pictures of them being forced to claim benefits and being spat at in the dole queues."

And I want to see them dry-bumfucked by cellmate Big Sid every night for five years.