Bloomberg News

U.K. Business Secretary Cable Fined 500 Pounds Over Unpaid Tax

October 26, 2011

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Business Secretary Vince Cable was fined 500 pounds ($800) after alerting authorities that he hadn’t paid sales tax on some of his earnings from media appearances and speeches.

Cable’s office said today the fine related to earnings while his Liberal Democrat party was in opposition before the May 2010 election. Parliament’s register of interests shows that between March 2009 and March 2010, Cable earned as much as 13,000 pounds for broadcast appearances and newspaper articles. He paid additional earnings of as much as 44,000 pounds, mainly for speeches to financial institutions, to charity. The balance after tax from a 51,333-pound fee for a weekly newspaper column went to his local party.

The deadline for tax returns for the financial year ending March 2010 was in January. Cable’s accounting firm, Myrus Smith Accountants, said in a statement released by the minister’s office it had notified the tax agency, HM Revenue and Customs, when it realized his earnings passed the threshold at which the self-employed must start paying value-added tax, currently just over 70,000 pounds.

“When it became clear that Mr. Cable’s earnings had breached the level at which VAT was payable, an offer to settle immediately and in full was made to HMRC and this was duly accepted,” Myrus Smith said. “The matter was dealt with within a month of the Revenue being informed in the first instance and is now closed.”

Cable’s office said in a statement that the minister had acted to settle the matter quickly and had been fined only half the usual penalty.

--Editors: Eddie Buckle, Fergal O’Brien.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net.


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