James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Pay back...what's owed to HMRC
24 December 2017, 20:42 | Updated: 24 December 2017, 20:45
Some very rich patriotic Brits bankrolled the Brexit campaign because they wanted the return of British laws for British people.
Now that they are victorious, and Britons will be forever subject to only British laws, made by British politicians and applied by British institutions, they couldn't be happier.
Just kidding, they are still complaining.
That is because they do not like a particular British law.
Not that they are complaining for themselves, you understand, they are doing it on behalf of the massed little people of this great land.
The spectacularly rich men who poured a small percentage of their vast wealth to steer the country on their preferred course, have been notified by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs that they must pay a tax bill because of their selfless generosity.
You would think they would be glad to pay. It is being requested on behalf of Her Majesty after all.
Instead of being delighted to help the cause, they are whining that it is an obscure tax law, that they weren't expecting the bill and that the government should intervene on their behalf.
The Brexiteer ultras have called this The Revenge of the Establishment. When it happens to us, we call it Receiving Our Tax Bill.
HMRC has cited an inheritance tax law which requires people to pay tax upfront on large gifts.
It is no more obscure than any other tax law – it is written right there in the code.
A law is only obscure if your accountant did not tell you about it when you asked if your donation to the cause would attract a bill from the tax man.
Perhaps they didn't ask their accountant.
Perhaps they forgot in their giddy delight at getting our country back.
Perhaps they would prefer to be subject to the tax laws of the Bahamas?
It is not as though they can't afford the money. They had the cash to write the cheques to fund the campaign to keep Britain British, they should be able to write a smaller one to the government so that it can fund the totally British NHS, for instance.
How sad. The two that are not a millionaires, are billionaires.
They have been issued demands, in the proper British manor, because in giving money to the leave campaign, they have reduced the value of their estates and hence the amount of inheritance tax that would become due in the unlikely event that any of these saints died.
It would have been all right if they had been donations to political parties, but the leave campaign was not that. It would have been fine if it had been a charity, but was not that either. Not by a long chalk.
The complaint is: it's so unfair!
It is specifically unfair that leavers will be hit harder than remainers by the application of this totally British law.
Unfortunately for this argument, remainers who donated to their cause were also hit by tax demands.
This has not stopped supporters of our three heroes from squealing so loud you could hear them through the walls of a concrete fall-out shelter.
They have said that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is acting undemocratically and the Chancellor Philip Hammond could come under pressure to intervene.
I bet his phone is red hot.
It should be wet with their tears of gratitude to be subject to the British law they spent so much money reinforcing, or do they only want to obey the laws of that land that suit them?
Lord Edmiston, who made much of his money selling cars, donated £850,000 to the official Vote Leave campaign and £150,000 to an unofficial leave campaign.
He has been politely asked to pay a tax bill of £200,000.
Peter Cruddas, a financial trader who in 2007 was named the richest person in the City of London, gave £900,000 to a leave campaign and has been asked to pay HMRC £180,000.
Arron Banks, the former UKIP leading light, is being asked to pay £2million in inheritance tax on the generously patriotic £8.1million he gave to the Leave.EU campaign.
British rules state that Britons can give away £325,000 in their lifetime before being taxed.
A representative of Her Majesty's tax collectors said, 'Donations to campaign groups don't qualify as exempt gifts to political parties, unless the recipient is a political party meeting the criteria set out in section 24 of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984.
'No special exemption was granted ahead of the 2016 referendum.”
Of course, these men could pay these bills with the spare change they keep in the ashtrays of some of the cars they don't use, or in the kitchen drawers of one of their spare homes.
You would think they would delighted to do their bit for Britain and pay the tax as it becomes due.
The rest of us poor dopes have to.
Maybe, if they don't get any joy from Philip Hammond, they could take their case to the European Court of Justice?