Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Did Boris Johnson sign off a tax dodge?

Dan Ritterband (pictured right)
It's good to see Boris Johnson campaigning against tax avoidance all of a sudden.

Not least because he has spent the past few years campaigning to avoid more tax himself.

Still let's not underestimate the zeal of the convert. On Sunday Boris was on fine form telling the Andrew Marr show that:

"I want a crackdown on tax dodgers and tax avoiders of all kinds."

Perhaps he could start his crackdown at City Hall where some cad named Boris Johnson signed off a payment of £22,912.50 to a limited company called "DJR PR" in 2008.

Could this be the same DJR PR whose sole director is Daniel James Ritterband, Boris's former campaign chief and current Marketing Director?

Oh yes so it is:

The 'transition' here refers to the first two months of Boris's term when we paid a team of consultants and former campaign workers over half a million pounds to help get him started.

Some of this team, including Ritterband, subsequently went on to become full time GLA employees.

I emailed Daniel asking him whether he had paid full income tax on all of the £22,912.50 that taxpayers paid him to transition Boris (and himself) into his new job.

Shortly afterwards I was contacted by a spokesperson for the GLA who told me that:

"DJR PR has not conducted any business since June 2008. All applicable taxes have been paid on fees paid to the company."

"Applicable taxes" rather than income taxes.

The spokesperson also confirmed that the £22k consultancy fee was paid solely for the services of Ritterband. 

However, despite apparently doing no business since 2008, Ritterband's company continued to accrue considerable assets. I've uploaded the company's accounts here. See what you think.

So what's going on here? Can Ritterband be labeled a "tax dodger" who set up a company in order to pay less taxes out of the money taxpayers gave him?

Or did he just legally do what many thousands of other people who are self-employed, freelancers or consultants currently do?

Under Boris's logic the answer is pretty clear. Time for another crackdown I think.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As you say Boris should know this is common practice if not standard practice for contractors workng externally for an organisation.