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calendar   Tuesday - June 09, 2009

Minister’s ‘tax dodge’: MP avoided paying £1.5m bill on sale of ‘main home’.

Yeah. Meanwhile the rest of us have to pay up and pay when told or else.image And no damn excuses either.  And I sure do not believe his lawyer. Anyway, point is that these folks get away easy with things the rest of the little ppl would be put away for.

By Dan Newling
Last updated at 2:38 AM on 08th June 2009

Millionaire Cabinet minister Shaun Woodward has been accused of avoiding £1.5million in capital gains tax by simultaneously claiming that two properties were his ‘main residence’.

In 2003 the Northern Ireland Secretary - the only Cabinet member with his own butler - made a £3.7million profit when he sold his central London townhouse to the singer Sting.

By telling the taxman that the property was his main residence, he avoided paying capital gains tax of 40 per cent on the sale, a saving of almost £1.5million.

Two years earlier he had told the Commons Fees Office that he, his wife and four children lived in Sarsden House, a mansion set in 458 acres in rural Oxfordshire near where his children went to school.

All published parliamentary records at the time of the townhouse sale suggest he lived in Oxfordshire rather than London.

Mr Woodward, 50, has categorically denied deliberately ‘flipping’ his main home designation in order to avoid capital gains tax.

Yesterday, however, he failed to clarify whether, in 2003, he declared two different ‘main residences’, one to the Commons authorities and another to the taxman.

‘Flipping’ is the now-condemned practice of MPs changing which home they designate their main residence in order to avoid tax and benefit from generous parliamentary second home allowances.

Mr Woodward bought his Georgian townhouse in Westminster in 1997 for £2million and sold it to Sting in 2003 for £5.7million.

Capital gains tax normally applies to any profit made on the sale of a second home and Mr Woodward would have been expected to pay 40 per cent on the £3.7million profit.

However, by saying the home was his main residence, he avoided the tax.

Further evidence that he actually lived in Oxfordshire was provided when Mr Woodward sold Sarsden House in 2006 for £24million.

At the time his spokesman said: ‘They have enjoyed family life there but feel it is now time to move on.’

Mr Woodward, MP for St Helens South, is married to Camilla Sainsbury of the supermarket dynasty and is said to be worth £15million.

His lawyer John Rosenheim said that in 2003 the MP was living ‘between the two properties’ in Oxfordshire and Westminster.

Asked which was designated as his main home, he said: ‘He hasn’t got the records from 2003 and neither does the Fees Office.’

Mr Rosenheim pointed out that far from avoiding capital gains tax, Mr Woodward’s claim that he lived in London meant he ended up paying more in tax when he eventually sold his Oxfordshire mansion.

He denied that the MP either ‘flipped’ his home or ‘took steps to avoid CGT’.

He said Mr Woodward has ‘complied both with the letter and spirit of the law and regulations pertaining both to tax and the Additional Costs Allowance’.

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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 06/09/2009 at 10:09 AM   
Filed Under: • TaxesUK •  
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