Menace To Tax Dodgers David Cameron Has His Own Tax Dodging Exposed By The Panama Leaks

from the set-the-world-to-PANIC-MODE dept

One of the more darkly entertaining aspects of the massive Panama Leaks has been watching exposed politicians attempting to reconcile past promises to get tougher on financial wrongdoers with their own tax-dodging efforts.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has spent several years in crackdown mode, as the New York Times notes. Going all the way back to 2012, Cameron has made a habit of promising better regulation, stricter enforcement and harsher penalties for tax-dodging corporations while selling himself to voters and small businesses. He also singled out individuals, like comedian Jimmy Carr, for his use of “dodgy tax-avoiding schemes.” He also promised to close a loophole that allowed wealthy UK residents to avoid paying taxes and suggested those that did should face prison time.

He capped it all off with this 2015 election pledge:

“Tackling tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance and tax planning is an important part of our long-term economic plan,” Mr. Cameron said ahead of his Conservative Party’s electoral victory.

He has repeatedly said that “no government has done more than this one to crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance.”

Obviously, things are different when it’s the Prime Minister doing the tax dodging. His first reaction, when asked about holdings he inherited from his late father, was to develop a sudden interest in privacy.

Asked on Monday whether she could confirm that no family money was still invested in the fund, Mr Cameron’s spokeswoman said: “That is a private matter”.

To his credit, Cameron swiftly walked back that defensive statement. He pointed out that, yes, he did own some shares in an offshore holding scheme as the result of an inheritance, but sold them off in 2010. His wife still owns shares in an offshore trust, but those are declared yearly on her tax returns. Better yet, he has acknowledged that his first response was the wrong response.

Addressing the Tories’ spring forum, he said he was to blame for the handling of revelations about his holding in his late father’s offshore fund.

Days after questions were first raised, the PM admitted this week he had owned and later sold units in the fund.

Cameron has followed through on his promise to release his tax returns so they can be examined for any other irregularities. However, Cameron’s openness is not wholehearted. What has been released only shows his tax payments since selling off his shares in the offshore holding company. Pre-2010 documents — when he still may have benefitted from the tax shelter — have not been released.

He also hasn’t extended his transparency to cover his advisors or members of his party, so the party’s tough stance on tax dodging still may only mostly extend outward.

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Comments on “Menace To Tax Dodgers David Cameron Has His Own Tax Dodging Exposed By The Panama Leaks”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: i know how to fix this

Your suggesting is rather confusing and meaningless without some clarification.

“USA money has to STAY in the USA”

Define “USA money”. Also, what does “USA money” have to do with a story about the UK prime minister?

“Tall all banks OUTSIDE the USA, that any transactions FROM the USA can be Kept by those banks..
Except where they are concerned with purchases of good to be Sent to the USA.”

Are you honestly saying that all money sent from the US can be confiscated by foreign banks unless specifically marked for purchasing goods to import? That’s a lot of business you’re shutting down there.

Also, you’ve at least therefore decided that tourists from the US should have their money taken if they need to get it transferred to them, plus that all US ex-pats should not benefit from any income they have originating from the US. Foreign banks will love you for this plan, but I don’t think most Americans would.

I somehow think you haven’t through this through – unless I’m missing something from your confusing way of posting, of course.

streetlight (profile) says:

When the anit-privacy hawks have their data revealed...

It’ll be interesting how the anti-privacy hawks will feel if they get their way regarding the installation of back doors in hardware and software and their most private and secret information is made available for all to read. For sure as soon as the back doors are installed they will be hacked and there will be no data privacy for anyone unless stored completely off the Internet. Then again, there may be some advantages. Government may become very transparent!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Land-value taxation would fix a lot of this.

There is a problem with land valuation taxes, it often has no correlation with money on hand to pay the taxes. Indeed in the UK, death duties, which are a tax on the value of possessions, has destroyed many an estate by forcing sales of artworks, and then the land to meet the tax bill.

Call me Al says:

Misguided reporting

For once Techdirt is writing about an area I actually know about in detail, since it is connected with my work.

The shouting and screaming about tax dodging by certain parts of the UK press (and now Techdirt) is misguided and generally stems from a lack of financial education and knowledge. There are plenty of very dodgy people investing offshore and we’ll see more of it was the Panama stuff is unpacked and with a bit of luck they’ll be some people absolutely nailed to the wall by the relevant tax authorities (I have popcorn on standby). But we should focus blame where it should lie and not drag in the innocent.

The fund Cameron was invested in is what is known as a “distributing fund”. This means that it was registered with HMRC (our IRS) and was required to distribute all of its income to the investors every year. The investor would then report the income in their country of residence (in this case the UK) and pay tax accordingly.

When the asset was sold the disposal was reported on Cameron’s tax return.

There was no tax benefit to Cameron from having invested in this fund.

An interview with a tax laywer noted that a better headline for the whole thing would be “Man makes modest investment and pays all his taxes.”

They made a mess of explaining all this, mostly because it actually requires explanation and people these days seem to think that if something takes over 140 characters to explain then it must be dodgy.

I’m really dissapointed in reading this article on this site. I tend to believe what you write about because I lack the expertise necessary to disagree. Seeing the above suggests I should be more wary than I have been.

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