How Emma Harrison 'avoided £800,000 in higher rate tax'

Little wonder the 50p tax rate hasn't brought in the expected revenue: here's one way to avoid paying it

Column LAST UPDATED AT 09:55 ON Tue 20 Mar 2012

EMMA HARRISON, the boss of A4e, the government work agency, has dropped David Cameron in the brown stuff again on the eve of the Budget - this time by allegedly avoiding £800,000 in taxes.

Harrison, who resigned last month as Cameron's family champion and back-to-work adviser after a fraud investigation was launched into A4e (Action for Employment), apparently paid herself a dividend of more than £8 million in 2011 but brought forward the date of the payment to 2 April, neatly avoiding the 50p tax which came into being on 6 April, the start of the financial year.

It is estimated that by bringing forward the annual dividend payment by just a few days – in previous years, they were smaller and were paid on or after 6 April - Harrison, who has a stockholding of 87 per cent in her company, was able quite legally to avoid paying £800,000 in tax at the higher rate. Instead, she paid tax on her big fat windfall at the old 40 per cent rate.

All legal and above board, but condemned by Margaret Hodge, Labour chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, as "plain greedy".

The allegation was made on Channel 4 News last night by business editor Faisal Islam. It is hugely embarrassing for Cameron, and the Tory claim that we're "all in it together" (unless you have a good accountant).

It is more worrying for George Osborne because Emma Harrison was not the only one. One tax expert told C4 that a total of £20bn in dividends was brought forward in a similar fashion by other directors of companies, avoiding £2bn in tax at the higher rate.

In tomorrow's Budget, Osborne will tell the House of Commons that he is able to cut the 50p top tax rate – probably to 45p and probably not until 2013 - because it is failing to raise the expected revenue. Now we know why. He didn't need a Treasury investigation to tell him. He just needed to speak to some of Dave's friends. · 

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Are you sure this was not just a draft of a skit for "Little Britain" she must be both greedy and stupid! Remember when you are in a hole Emma stop digging. On a side note Emma's husband Jim Harrison owner of Thornbridge Brewery has been buying up pub's,restaurants and expanding the brewery empire!.Well at least we know where the ill gotten gain has ended up.

News? Really?
 
Is the great unwashed bought TVs just before a VAT rise came into effect it would be sensible. Presumably Mole waits until seasonal sales are finished before buying anything.
 
This is not evasion; it's not even really avoidance. It's just entirely sensible and rational.

Don't know what all you plebs are complaining about.  I obviously deserve every penny and more, and what's more it's about time Callmedave fixed up another gong for me.
After all I've sorted out the unemplyment problem what with putting a person into a job every 7 minutes - who cares if it's the same person - that's what I call creative accounting.  Now where's that window so I can trace this signature?

Can't help wondering why Mole doesn't volunteer to offer at least half of his entire salary to the treasury! Or is his enthusiasm for paying more and more tax simply reserved for others to offer?  And what is greedy about not paying tax when we know that large chunks of it are spent on foriegn wars where we have not business to be, not to mention giving it away to foriegn countries when we are already way over our heads in the deepest debt! All this brought about by politicians whjo aparently believe that they have a greater responsibility to foriegners than they do to the people who elected them!

While it smacks of immorality, it was certainly legal. Sounds like a large dose of jealousy is once again being aired by 'the media'.

In keeping with the ConDems contempt for the masses.

Brits are getting robbed like a Robin Hood style, don't you think????