The Treasury’s analysis of the wealth of non-domiciliaries was thrust to the
centre of political debate this week, as the two major political parties traded
blows over a Tory plan to tax them more heavily.
Shadow chancellor George Osborne announced on Monday a plan to charge the
non-doms a flat £25,000 levy for the privilege of acquiring the preferential tax
status, allowing them to avoid tax on offshore income.
Osborne used estimates that as many as 150,000 non-doms might pay the new
levy Labour claimed that Treasury analysis showed it would only be as many as
15,000, since the rest would simply pay tax on their overseas earnings.
But in the past the Treasury has insisted that it doesn’t know how much
foreign income non-doms have, inviting criticism that it had either made up its
15,000 figure or been withholding information.
Dawn Primarolo, the former paymaster general, said earlier this year:
‘Information is not held on overseas income and gains that do not give rise to a
liability in the UK.’
Mike Warburton said the Treasury figure was ‘patently tripe. Nobody knows the
actual figures’. He added that the Tory estimates were more likely to be
The Tories themselves criticised the earlier non-disclosure of figures on
non-doms this week. MP Justine Greening claimed the Treasury withheld figures in
the past as it was not ‘expedient’, information that it was only too happy to
provide now for ministers.
‘What is unacceptable is for government to withhold data from opposition
parties for no other reason than that it was not expedient at the time,’ she
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