Lord Irvine’s refurb could land huge bill

Lord Irvine, right, could face a huge tax bill for the costly refurbishment of his apartment in the House of Lords, according to tax experts.

Maurice Fitzpatrick, a Chantrey Vellacott tax partner, warned unless the Lord Chancellor could show the paintings, including Cameron’s En Provence (above), are necessary for the better performance of his duties, he would be liable for ‘millions of pounds’ in tax.

‘If employees are provided with accommodation due to a threat to their basic security, legislation states they would be liable for 10% tax on their salary’, said Fitzpatrick. ‘But if this is not the case, the employee would pay an annual 20% tax on furnishings and paintings and a 7% tax on the property’s value.’ Mike Warburton, Grant Thornton’s national tax partner, agreed: ‘I would have no difficulty if the government passed a law saying cabinet ministers don’t have to pay tax.

‘What’s wrong is Irvine doesn’t have to pay tax on these expensive paintings stuck on his wall for his own personal benefit, when I know that if my clients did the same they would be taxed.’

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