Sunday, May 17, 2009

LibDems leader Tavish Scott refuses to reveal capital gains tax payments on property profits

The leader of Scotland’s Liberal Democrats, Tavish Scott, has apparently refused to reveal whether he paid Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on property profits made from taxpayer funded flats.

The Sunday Herald reports :

LibDem leader refuses to confirm tax payment

by Tom Gordon and Paul Hutcheon

THE LEADER of the Scottish Liberal Democrats was last night refusing to reveal whether he paid capital gains tax (CGT) on the profits made on the first of two taxpayer-funded flats.

A spokeswoman for Tavish Scott, who made a £36,000 profit in 2005 after selling a publicly-subsidised property, refused to give an answer on the "private" matter.

This was in contrast to Mike Rumbles, the LibDem chief whip, who said explicitly that he paid 40% CGT when he sold one of the flats he billed the taxpayer for living in.

Hazel Blears, the Communities Minister, was lambasted after she classified a flat she owned in south London as her second home to the Westminster authorities, but told the taxman the property was her main residence. Her decision meant she did not have to pay CGT on the post-sale profits, but public criticism led Blears to paying £13,332 to the Inland Revenue.

The controversy has now put the spotlight on Scott. MSPs can get help for a second home in Edinburgh if their "main residence" is far enough away from the Capital.

Scott has a main residence in Shetland and bills the public for mortgage interest payments on a £380,000 home in Morningside. The parliamentary allowances register states he claims around £1000 a month for the property.

However, the LibDem leader first claimed the Holyrood mortgage interest on a flat in Lower London Road he bought in 2002. Scott made a gain of £36,000 when he sold the flat.

If the sale was liable for CGT, Scott would have had to pay £14,400 in tax. A spokeswoman for Scott refused to answer a direct question on whether the LibDem leader paid CGT on the £36,000 gain. The party's press officer said: "Tavish Scott has paid and does pay all taxes due by him."

Pressed on whether Scott paid CGT on the flat profits, the spokeswoman declined to go further on his "private" tax affairs. Scott has claimed around £60,000 in mortgage interest payments from the taxpayer since 1999.

Patrick Harvie, a Green MSP, said: "Why is this a private matter? Anyone who is against openness now is on a hiding to nothing."

A spokesman for the Taxpayers Alliance said: "Tavish Scott should definitely say whether he paid capital gains tax after selling the property. It's especially necessary given he has made a big windfall."

No comments: