Accountants want to know how much tax our MPs pay

Accountants are among those who are calling for politicians to be more transparent about their personal taxation.

David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, has come out in favour of more openness when it comes to the details of politicians’ tax returns. The UK lags behind our Scandinavian cousins when it comes to transparency – in Finland, Norway and Sweden citizens details of other people’s finances are available online in the public domain.

The question of MPs finances came back into the spotlight after the very public row between Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone. The mayor of London, has already revealed that he earned £1.7 million over the last four years and paid 45% of it to HMRC in taxes. Livingstone claims to have paid tax of £113,000 on his earnings of £342,000 over the same time frame, but his declaration did not include the income in his personal company.

The government is keen to close any tax avoidance loopholes and in order to satisfy the suspicions of the electorate, a good way of doing it would be to make politicians publish details of their own tax affairs. A lot of politicians have income over and above their salaries; from rented properties and after dinner speaking, for example.

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said it would welcome moves to make politicians finances more transparent as long as they complied with EU data protection laws.

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