Yep, still looking

I am sorry that Margaret Hodge has announced that she has no plan to seek the chair’s role on the Public Accounts Committee during the course of this parliament. Equally I am unsurprised; she had made it pretty clear to me how unlikely it was that she would do so several months ago.

If we had an Office for Tax Responsibility answerable to the PAC we’d have a lasting legacy to her work.

If he’d not pissed off everyone at the TJN he’d be getting £40k a year of course. Although he’d have to pay tax on it, as we’re not quite sure whether he did with that £35k a year from the JRF.

33 comments on “Yep, still looking

  1. He says he paid tax on it. He might be guilty of many crimes against logic, human knowledge and common sense, but I doubt he’d say he had paid tax on it if in fact he hadn’t.

  2. “I am sorry that Margaret Hodge has announced that she has no plan to seek the chair’s role on the Public Accounts Committee during the course of this parliament.”

    She’s leaving parliament to spend more time with her trust funds.

  3. “He says he paid tax on it. He might be guilty of many crimes against logic, human knowledge and common sense, but I doubt he’d say he had paid tax on it if in fact he hadn’t.”

    Given that such a revelation would–or more like-should fix his wagon you are probably correct. Stranger things have happened however. Leftists will swallow almost anything in the course of their destructive existences and a tax cheating denouncer of tax cheats would really be a very small exercise of doublethink for them.

  4. What’s the story with the TJN and the £40K? I think I missed that episode. I thought he WAS the TJN!

  5. Standard pay at TJN seems to be about £40k. He got everyone there pissed off at him so left…..don’t know whether he was paid ever or not. But that’s the obvious home for a tax justice warrier looking for a check. But I doubt they’ll have him back.

  6. Ken Livingstone accused Boris Johnson of fiddling his taxes only for it to be revealed that Ken ran his affairs through a Limited company, paid himself dividends and paid a salary set at a level to gain NIC credit but npot actually pay any NIC so, yes, the left are quite capable of hypocrisy of the highest order.

    The thing about Murphy is his combination of stupidity and arrogance must make it hard for anyone to work with him. Experts are either wrong when they have a difference of opinion or are just agreeing with something he ‘invented’ first when they have the same opinion.

  7. Did he actually say he’d treated the JRF money as taxable income? I had a vague memory that he’d said something weaselly like “paid all taxes due” (rather like Hodge the Dodge).

  8. On his website he does describe what he gets from JRF as a ‘grant’ and references this being for research.

    He also talks of grants from various trade unions.

    If he’s not actually producing anything FOR the JRF then it’s probably not taxable. You’d have to carefully word any agreement.

    Some might say that if this were the case there’s nothing illegal being done. Others might blather on about owing a duty to pay tax as part of your debt to the nation’s infrastructure.

  9. Of course, this might explain why his desire to open up company accounts for greater transparency doesn’t extend to opening up personal tax returns.

  10. He put the JRF money through his TRUK LLP partnership accounts. On his tax return, which he hasn’t made public, I presume he will have disclosed his share of partnership profits (99% from memory, with Dr M having the other 1%) without adjustment. So they get taxed that way.

  11. “He put the JRF money through his TRUK LLP partnership accounts”

    But aren’t ones accounts different to ones tax return? Different rules apply to accounts to taxable income. So just because his partnership accounts say a profit of X doesn’t mean he pays tax on his share of X. Is it not possible that he has put the income from JRF into his LLP accounts, but on the tax return has declared it as non taxable income due to it being a ‘grant’?

  12. It doesn’t follow that just because the grants are shown in the accounts that they have been returned as taxable in his personal tax return.

    There’s a note in the 2014 accounts (note 8) saying “grants receivable…for which no services were supplied” which then details the JRF and another grant. This suggests he is treating them as not taxable as they’re grants receveid for non-trading activities. If he’s just doing general research and not doing it for the grant payers then it would be non-taxable.

  13. The chair of the PAC goes to a member of the main opposition party. Is Ritchie suggesting that Lady Hypocrite knew several months ago that Labour weren’t going to win the election?

  14. By all accounts he is almost impossible to work with but I know as Tim said the TJN bridges have definitely been burned – he seldom even references them on his increasingly bizarre output…

  15. If the grant is received in connection with a trade or vocation, then I would normally expect it to be taxable as a receipt of that business.

    I think the grant from the JRF has been described as being to allow Murphy to run his blog and other campaigning activities. That sounds taxable to me.

    The VAT position is a little different: if there are no supplies made to the JRF then it would be outside the scope of VAT, even if it is subject to income tax,

  16. So that comment in note 8 to the accounts might be explaining why he’s not VAT-registered (or why it’s not in his VAT return, if he is registered).

  17. I thought he wasn’t VAT registered because he splits his business between various entities, with each one under the VAT threshold.

  18. Tim/Vanpy

    Not sure where you got the Murphy/TJN rift from. He still posts their podcasts etc

    The issues were, I believe, that TJN were not in the business of being a focussed opinion forum, the clue’s in the name. It’s clear that you don’t read TJN, Murphy is quite often quoted, but the angle is very much more a global/developing country repository for research papers and targeted news bites.

    TRUK didn’t fit in after this expansion. I really doubt there was significant feuding, regardless of your personal opinions about how-something-may-have-been-said-by-someone-at-some-stage.

    But then Van Patten seems to know all the ins and outs of a cat’s arse on the subject of Murphy and his personal life choices.

    In any event, who the fuck cares?

  19. @Pellinor

    But is the blog he runs and the ‘research’ he publishes a ‘trade or vocation’? Does he charge for access to either?

    There is some informative stuff on this in HMRC’s Business Income Manual at BIM40455and BIM58201. ‘trade implies the provision of goods or services to a customer’. Unless JRF get something sepcificly for them, it’s probably a non-taxable grant. If I gave £50 to Murphy to write some shyte about poverty and never owned what he produced, chances are it’s going to be treated as a non-taxable grant. I get nothing back for the £50.

    Of course, Murphy could end this debate by simply saying that he returns the grant as taxable income. But he won’t.

  20. @ Clarissa
    Certainly not. Prior to the 2015 election, the 70-year-old revealed to intimates like Richard Murphy that she did not wish to be Chairwoman on the PAC after the election. After running an election campaign for five years, she expected to be given a ministerial post by Ed Millionaireband (another member of the North London Jewish oligarchy).

  21. By all accounts he is almost impossible to work with but I know as Tim said the TJN bridges have definitely been burned

    This is astonishingly stupid, even by Ritchie’s standards. It’s a bit like a tennis player burning bridges with the WTA. Where does one go afterwards? To an attic in Norfolk?

  22. AndyC – he’s a chartered accountant and holds himself out as a tax campaigner. I think one might argue that there’s not a trade, but it seems much more like a vocation.

    If it were a client of mine, I’d expect HMRC to start from the position that it’s taxable unless I can find a good argument that it’s not; and given that BIM explicitly notes that you don’t have to be providing services directly to the person paying you, I’m not at all sure I could find one.

    Rule of thumb: direct tax is very much about taxing cash received because you do X, regardless of where the cash comes from. VAT is more finicky, taxing amounts received in direct exchange for supplies made to the payer, but that’s a whole different kettle of worms.

    If you gave Murphy £50 to write something then, unless he could show that the particular thing he wrote was a one-off and he’s not normally a writer, I’d say that’s taxable.

  23. @John77

    Publishing may well be zero-rated for VAT purposes but providing reports to people is not. It’s a consultancy service.

    If Murphy were being paid by JRF to prepare a report on poverty for JRF that would be consultancy and would potentially be VATable.

  24. @pellinor

    What you say goes against what HMRC say.

    ‘trade implies the provision of goods or services to a customer’

    What goods or services are being given to JRF?

    What reports have JRF published which Murphy has written for them?

  25. @Pellinor

    But as I have said earlier, Murphy could settle this by confirming that he returns the grants as taxable income.

    Maybe even publishing is tax return to show that he has nothing to hide.

  26. AndyC – yes, that’s the definition of a trade. It’s not the definition of a profession or vocation, though, and they get taxed in much the same way.

    It’s not helpful that HMRC often use “trade” as shorthand for “trade, profession, or vocation”, of course.

    If I were advising Murphy, I would (based on the incomplete information available to me at the moment; opinions may change if facts differ) suggest that he treat the receipt as taxable income of his profession/vocation.

    I have no idea what he’s actually done, of course. You’re right that he could settle it if he wanted to, but as far as I’m concerned he’s under no obligation to do so.

  27. Richie says he has paid the tax due. Starbucks say they have paid the tax due. What’s the difference?

    Maybe Richie should pay a voluntary contribution…. Starbucks paid around double their profits. So £80,000 should just about cover it…. 🙂

  28. @ AndyC
    Certainly providing Consultancy reports (as I occasionally do) is VATable and taxable, but it is arguable whether Murphy’s blog is publishing and hence zero-rated.

  29. Arnald

    True I don’t instinctively go the TJN site as I find anyone whose definition of a secrecy jurisdiction encompasses such well known tax evasion centres as Denmark likely to offer limited insight – I did say Murphy doesn’t seem to quote as much from them rather than them being reluctant to quote from him – I will defer to your more comprehensive knowledge on TJN…:

  30. John77, it is only physical printed matter (books, magazines and suchlike) that is zero rated in the UK. Online publications are standard rated here (including Kindle books).

    Luxembourg I think experimented with zero rating electronic publications, but was told to stop by the EU.

    Also the writing, editing and publication work that goes into it is also standard rated; it is only the physical book whose sale is zero rated.

  31. @ Richard
    Yes – but I was ignoring Murphy’s blog because it generates no revenue while he gets some from his books.

  32. The VAT point is that Murphy specifically states that the grant income is not received in respect of VATable services so is claiming that what he gets the grant for is not consultancy (which is VATable). So what is it for? The accounts say it is for research into poverty and tax but if that research results in his blog and the reports which aren’t published as JRF reports but as his own and if he makes no money from the reports and blogs then he can claim that he is getting a grant for non-trading activities, which HMRC accept is not taxable.

    That would be my cynical interpretation of the situation and whilst Murphy won’t tell us the actual treatment he claims via HMRC we won’t know.

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