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Margaret Hodge: From redoubtable to very doubtable. In Liechtenstein we trust.

05/05/2015 by Webmaster

It has been reported that the chairman of the public accounts committee and a rabid critic of tax avoidance - has been accused of hypocrisy after she was alleged to have been handed more than £1.5million in shares from a tax haven.

Margaret Hodge – described by the mild mannered Mike Truman of Taxation has having “idiosyncratic and ill-informed views about tax avoidance” – has previously alienated much of the tax profession and attacked HMRC.  We have commented before on her “tax prat of the year” status.

She has a reputation for blurring the lines between tax evasion and tax avoidance – attacking those who do not exactly share her supposedly high moral stance that any form of aggressive tax avoidance is wrong.

But hold on there!  The Times has reported the multi-millionaire has benefited from a controversial scheme – the snappily named Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility -  that lets wealthy Britons move undeclared assets back to the UK without facing criminal action. In 2011 the company of which she owns a “tiny” part had revenues of over £2bn, and paid tax at an effective rate of 0.25%.  Not 25%. One quarter of one percent.

“It is the sheer hypocrisy we have become used to” said Philip Davies, the Tory candidate for Shipley. But when he was asked about it, shadow chancellor Ed Balls line was 'nothing to see here, move along now please.'

Mr. Balls said “…these were shares which were transferred by her family out of Germany for the Second World War.  That is the history of this and Margaret has brought those shares onshore and paid the appropriate tax and I think she's done the right thing. I hope that answers your question, thank you for asking it, it's good to be able to clarify that today.”

Aye, right.

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