Tax gets taxing (again) for Jeremy Corbyn as he declares £114k income

Written by John Ashmore on 6 March 2017 in Diary

The new annual scrutinising of the Labour leader’s tax return is in full swing.

Last year there was a great deal of confusion over whether Jeremy Corbyn had paid too much or too little tax, not helped by the fact he looked like he'd filled in the thing over a quick lunch break.

To avoid a repeat of that slightly farcical episode, the Labour leader got in an accountant to oversee this year's return - only for the professionals to (apparently) leave his party leader's salary off the return.

The seven-page form showed Corbyn’s income totalled £114,342 and that he paid £35,298 in tax.

According to the return, his "payment from all employments" was £77,019. But once his MP's salary and wage for being leader of the opposition from September 2015 onwards is added together, that amount should have been around £100,000.

The rest of his income, according to his tax form, came from a £1,200 "profit from self-employment", £78 bank interest and £36,045 in pensions.

Corbyn's aides were initially unable to explain the apparent discrepancy, insisting the tax return "was prepared by a firm of professional accountants who were supplied with the relevant information".

But in a statement finally published after midnight, Labour said £27,192 listed under "other pensions and annuities" as "public office" on his form is his income for being leader of the opposition.

"We are confident the total income of £114,342 in the tax return is correct, as is the income tax charge of £35,298. Nearly all the tax was paid at source,” a spokesperson said.

"We welcome media and public scrutiny of the Labour leader's tax return. This is a matter of policy, not political point scoring.

"We believe in transparency. Those who seek the highest office, along with the very wealthy and powerful, should publish their tax returns."

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott - one of Corbyn's closest allies - said the Labour leader "couldn’t possibly be intending to deceive anybody", but refused to say she would definitely publish her tax return.

She told the BBC's Westminster Hour last night: "I would always normally follow Jeremy Corbyn’s lead but I think we are going to have to discuss this as a shadow cabinet if we are all going to publish our tax returns.

"But the point is it’s to illustrate the policy that we are putting forward that people that earn over a million – I think – should publish their tax returns.  If that’s what we agree to do, certainly I’ll do it”.

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