‘Hospitality-Gate’!

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

Following the Houghton Quirk exchange in Tynwald this week over alleged hospitality enjoyed by the OFT Chairman from Manx Gas during the TT period I have written to Treasury Minister Eddie Teare asking for clarification of any tax offset companies can claim against such hospitality.

The words ‘Manx Gas hospitality’ are a misnomer anyway because Manx Gas and any other company ‘glad-handing’ in this way is doing it at our expense. The consumer pays for MHKs and other hangers-on to be entertained via our bills and it will be extremely annoying if Mr Teare does confirm a tax offset because that will mean we pay twice.

I have also taken the opportunity afforded by ‘hospitality-gate’ to stress once again that company expense accounts need a thorough going over. The practice of low and middle income workers paying a ‘full-whack’ of tax whilst company bosses and senior management claim expenses for eating and driving to work is just not on!

At the conclusion of the Tynwald exchange this week our unelected President Claire Christian MLC said that accepting hospitality would be alright as long as it was declared. What planet is she on? It is not alright ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ and the companies offering these perks to politicians and others do have an ulterior motive.

This place becomes more like a banana republic every day!

The text of the letter to the treasury Minister is set out below:

“Hon Eddie Teare, ACIB, MHK
Isle of Man Treasury Minister
Government Offices
Bucks Road
Douglas
Isle of Man
IM1 3PZ

18th November 2015

Dear Minister,

Ref: Hospitality – Tax

I understand that in Tynwald this week there was an exchange between the Member for Douglas North, Mr John Houghton MHK, and Mr David Quirk MHK, Chairman of the OFT. It was alleged that Mr Quirk had benefited from hospitality at a TT function this year organised by Manx Gas.

You will recall that I wrote to you in September (4th) referring to the issue of company expenses and the propensity of companies senior management and executives to ‘write of’ expenses most people would regard as an everyday expenses (such as eating and travelling to work) against tax.

Can you advise if in relation to so called ‘hospitality’ if this can also be offset against tax and similarly any sponsorship? In relation to the latter I understand that companies such as Manx Gas and others sponsor certain sporting activities etc with the consequent advertising spin-off that brings. Obviously if this sort of practice can be offset against tax and is widespread the effect on the National ‘tax take’ must be significant.

It is quite clear that the recent Tynwald exchange (whether the allegations concerning Mr Quirk are correct or not) does once again cast a spotlight on the whole area of tax exemption and I would suggest in line with the undertaking you gave when last I wrote to you that a full assessment of tax loss from ‘creative expense accounting’ is undertaken

It is grossly unfair at a time when members of the public of modest means, including some on fairly low pay, are taxed to the hilt that companies and their executives get ‘a free ride’.

As indicated whatever the veracity of the Mr Houghton’s allegations concerning Mr Quirk ‘glad-handing’ of the type alleged should be discouraged in respect of both political figures and senior civil servants.

I understand the President of Tynwald said during the recent debate that hospitality of this type was ‘acceptable if declared’!

It may be acceptable in Tynwald but I doubt very much that members of the public would put such a naive interpretation upon such practices.

I look forward to clarification of this issue

Yours sincerely

Bernard Moffatt

Director of Information
Celtic League”

Related links our earlier query to Treasury:

https://www.celticleague.net/news/treasury-urged-to-crack-down-on-black-economy-and-corporate-tax-cheats/
https://www.celticleague.net/news/treasury-minister-responds-on-tax-cheats/

BERNARD MOFFATT
Issued by: The Celtic News

18/11/15

THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

https://celticleague.net

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