02 Nov 2017
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has demanded a tax avoidance and evasion investigation into allegations that an Isle of Man aviation scheme is allowing wealthy aircraft owners to dodge paying due revenue.
Corbyn called on Prime Minister Theresa May to take action during Prime Minister’s Questions in parliament on Wednesday, saying: “There are 957 business jets in the Isle of Man, and that seems a bit excessive for any island, anywhere. I hope that that will be investigated and that due tax is collected from those people who are trying to avoid it,” Corbyn said.
“The Isle of Man VAT avoidance allegations are part of a wider leak from a Bermuda-based law firm said to be on a similar scale to the Panama papers. Will the Prime Minister commit HMRC to fully investigate all evidence of UK tax avoidance and evasion from this leak, and prosecute where feasible?”
The Prime Minister responded saying that revenue collector HMRC “does take these issues very seriously, does investigate and does take action, and that, where appropriate, tax loopholes are closed.”
Allegations surrounding the Isle of Man scheme have arisen after details were leaked from law firm Appleby, which has offices in offshore jurisdictions.
Last week Appleby responded with a statement saying that it is “satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients.”
The Isle of Man does have a regime in place through which business jets can be imported to the European Union and obtain a 100% refund if the aircraft is purely for business purposes, but it denied that the scheme is illegal, saying even the United Kingdom has a similar structure in place.
The Isle of Man government has asked HM Treasury to look at all elements involved in the process of the importation of business jets via the Isle of Man into the EU, a statement said.
Corbyn also pointed to an Isle of Man scheme used to import yachts into the European Union which was shut down by HMRC in 2010 after the then Labour government intervened.
My Corbyn accused the Tory party of being lax on tackling tax dodging by businesses and the wealthy, firms and high-networth individuals, stating that the amount of income tax paid by the super-rich has fallen from £4.4 billion to £3.5 billion since 2009.
“The top 1% of earners in this country are paying 28% of the tax burden. That is the highest percentage ever, under any Government,” said May.
– By Irene Madongo
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