Vince Cable Receives VAT Fine

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 Print Email

Business secretary Vince Cable has been fined £500 by HM Revenue & Customs for failing to pay VAT on his extra-curricular earnings.

The amount owed could have been as much as £25,000, according to the Sun , and related to the Liberal Democrat cabinet minister’s media work such as newspaper columns and television appearances.

The MP’s aides said the VAT error had been discovered by his personal accountants in January while his tax return for the previous year was being finalised.

They said they then contacted HMRC and apologised for the ‘oversight’. Cable’s accountants, Myrus Smith, told the Times that ‘the matter was dealt with within a month of the Revenue being informed ... and is now closed.’

Cable had earned an estimated £192,000 on top of his MP's annual salary of £65,738, but did not tell HMRC that his income had exceeded the current VAT threshold, it was reported.

A spokesperson for the minister said that his tax affairs were ‘above board’ and that HMRC had ‘let him off 50% of the usual penalty’. Cable was asked to pay a figure of ‘less than £15,000’ after a rebate on his charity donations was taken into account.

Cable has been an outspoken critic of tax avoidance, saying in a speech at the start of the financial crisis that systematic tax avoidance ‘strikes a particularly ugly note in these straitened times.’

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