Double barrelled problems for rich, non dom Tories

These are interesting times. The latest opinion poll in the Independent has the Tory’s lead down to just 3 points.  The likelihood of a hung parliament comes ever nearer. And it is great to see the Tories in such trouble.  David Cameron has had to apologise for unfounded attacks on Ed Balls’ handling of allegations against Muslim institutions. Tory candidates, including Brighton Kemptown’s own Simon Radford-Kirby have been advised to drop their double barrel names because they are trying to avoid coming across as Tory toffs.  He is now common-as-muck Simon Kirby.  Failed candidate in Brighton Pavilion, Scott Seaman-Digby, tried to do likewise by promoting himself as plain Scott Digby.  It didn’t work for him and it won’t work for Radford-Kirby.

As for the successful candidate in Brighton Pavilion, Chuck Vere, there is no suggestion that she is really Charlotte Alexandra de Pfeffel Johnson-Vere, and certainly not related to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson also known as simple Boris Johnson. No, her problems are more serious.  She is a close associate of Zac Goldsmith.  Today’s Mirror reported that “rising Tory star Zac Goldsmith is avoiding tax by claiming ‘non dom’ status”.  Mr Goldsmith inherited a fortune from his industrialist father Sir James Goldsmith.  There have been calls for David Cameron to sack him. Non-domicile tax status lets people avoid tax on earnings outside the UK.  According to the Lib Dem peer, Lord Oakeshott, “He’s not fit to sit in parliament and must pay the millions he’s dodged to the British taxman.”

Mr Goldsmith has denied he had “dodged” tax and said, “Virtually all my income comes to the UK, where I pay full tax on it.” But he added that he had decided to give up his “non dom” status.  Because of her close association with Zac Goldsmith, Charlotte Vere should make a statement about her attitude to non doms, and she should condemn rich Tories for avoiding tax.

4 Responses

  1. I was a Finance Director for a couple of years and so, as a bit of a nerd, I have a better than average understanding of tax. I even understand the non-dom system which has been in place for donkey’s years – and no, Labour didn’t get round to changing it and have left it too late now as they whimper away from power. The Conservative will change the non-dom system by requiring all non-doms to pay an annual fee of £25,000. Non-doms per se aren’t a bad thing – they are just people who consider themselves domiciled in another country. And that is a very difficult thing for even the tax man to define! However, non-doms contribute a huge amount to our economy, principally tax on their UK earnings, so whilst it may require further work, the system should be changed only with careful consideration.
    Back to Zac, someone I have campaigned with and someone that I consider a friend. I have never discussed his tax affairs with him, but judging from an email I got from him yesterday the truth of the matter is that he has not inherited capital, which is still tied up in trusts which were set up by his father. He does however have a, quite substantial, income from the capital on which he pays UK tax like we all do on our income. He also donates more money than you and I will see in a lifetime to charities and environmental causes. I am OK with these arrangements, many of which he can’t change anyway, and feel that morally he is on very solid ground.
    I am sorry to see this type of low grade campaigning against Zac from the Liberal Democrats. I believe they are probably getting very worried in Zac’s constituency of Richmond Park.
    Best wishes Baps,
    Charlotte Sarah Emily Vere (according to my passport – my parents were clearly influenced by the Brontes!)

  2. So your defence is that ‘Non-doms aren’t a bad thing’.

    1. Why then is Zac giving up his non-dom status – could it be the simple fact that he’s been found out? Why didn’t he do this sooner? The truth is even seamier – David Cameron has ordered Zac to give up his non-dom status.

    2. As a Finance Director you know full well that non-dom status in the Caymen islands is a tax dodge to avoid paying massive amounts of income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. Even in the UK, his non-dom status gives him tax relief on his 700 acre farm and £77 million home. His family live in two homes used by the trust.

    I’m not a Lib-Dem, but to accuse them of ‘low grade campaiging’ because they’ve exposed a prospective candidate as being non domiciled in the UK, is hardly underhand. Looking forward to your defence of non-dom status on the doorsteps of Hollingbury!

    • Dear Mr Clark,

      Thank you for your response. My statement that non-doms aren’t a bad thing comes from research done a year or two ago which concluded that the net benefit to tax revenues from non-doms was positive and that to remove the status entirely would not be beneficial for tax revenues, hence the interim step of imposing an annual fee. I don’t propose to look into this further at the moment as I have not come across many non-doms in Brighton Pavilion!

      With regards Zac and his affairs, I propose to let him speak for himself and have copied below his recent email.

      I hope now to focus on the issues that I really think matter to Hollingbury – the economy, unemployment, health and crime. I hope to meet you to discuss these soon.

      With best wishes,

      Charlotte Vere

      Email from Zac:
      The Sunday Times (29th November) ran a misleading article about my tax status which included outlandish remarks by the Liberal Democrat Lord Oakeshott. This gave rise to further Press coverage on the 30th November.

      Although I have answered the questions put to me by the media, without hesitation, I wanted to write to you personally to explain the situation.

      Firstly, for Lord Oakeshott to suggest that I have dodged any tax and to claim that I owe millions to the British taxman is wrong and defamatory.

      Equally fallacious is his suggestion that I keep money offshore “free of income tax, inheritance tax and capital gains tax”.

      I have never made any secret of my family’s background. My father created an international trust designed to provide his children with income. They, and I do not have access to the capital.

      However, virtually everything I do is in the UK, and therefore the vast majority of my income comes to the UK, where I pay the full rate of tax on it. I do not derive any benefits as far as either capital gains tax or inheritance is concerned since I am registered for the latter in the UK.

      My family has use of two homes that are owned by that trust. Despite what has been said, we do not live in them for free. I am subject to Capital Gains tax on the benefits I enjoy from using these properties.

      My non-domicile status is a reflection of my father’s international status, but despite this, I have always chosen of my own volition to be tax resident in the UK.

      The Sunday Times article states that I “stand to lose huge sums by changing [my] tax status”. That is wrong. For me, the ‘non-dom’ status offers very few benefits. Before the newspaper had even made contact, I had already instructed my advisors to end it as of April 6th 2009. I am therefore no longer ‘non-dom’.

      If there are any savings at all, they are massively exceeded by the fact that a very large proportion of my post-tax income goes towards supporting charitable and environmental causes that I believe in.

      I do not believe family wealth accords any entitlement whatsoever in democratic politics. But nor do I believe it should be a barrier to my continuing to work for the things we all believe in.

      Yours sincerely,

      Zac Goldsmith

  3. ” The Conservatives will change the non-dom system by requiring all non-doms to pay an annual fee of £25,000″.

    And what a big dent that’s going to make in the millions of pounds of taxes they avoid every year!

    Chuck Vere, desperately dumb.

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