Boris’ accountant speaks out over Livingstone tax clash

AN ACCOUNTING FIRM has become embroiled in the ‘tax clash’ between London mayoral candidates Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone.

A heated debate between the candidates took place yesterday on London radio station LBC, which heard Johnson angrily refute Livingstone’s claims that he had paid tax in a similar manner to Livingstone – through a company structure.

“If you’re saying I had a company to avoid paying income tax you are absolutely lying. I have never used a company to minimise tax,” Johnson said according to the Evening Standard’s report.

A letter was sent to the Standard by Johnson’s accountant Robert Maples, managing partner of Begbies (formerly Begbies Chettle Agar), saying he does not avoid tax.

“[He] is liable to income tax on the entirety of his income. He is not party to any tax avoidance or deferral schemes nor has any of his income been transferred to other members of his family,” said the letter.

A shareholding he held in a TV production company was given up in 20008, with all income included in his tax return, the letter added.

The argument followed the publishing of details around Livingstone’s tax affairs last month.

Begbies is a six-partner firm based in London and Kent. The small-but-prominent firm takes part in the Accountancy Age Top50+50 survey.
It rebranded to Begbies at the start of the month after merging with associate firms Begbies Playfoot, Shooter Greene and Begbies Lipowicz.

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