Blair's company paid just £315,000 tax on income of more than £12m

 

When you have already spent half a million pounds on rent, £300,000 on furniture and £2.3m paying your staff, an extra £8m on unexplained “administrative expenses” might seem to be stretching credulity, but that is what Tony Blair has told Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, which as a consequence has received a rather smaller cheque from the former Prime Minister than it might have expected.

Records sent to Companies House reveal a substantial leap in Tony Blair's income in the year ending March 2011, but such a rise has not been passed on to the taxman. One of his many companies and partnerships, Windrush Ventures, declared a turnover of £12m, up from £8.5m the year before. But Mr Blair's accounts claim that just over £1m of this is profit, the rest written off as "administrative expenses", with no further explanation given for some £7.74m of the total. With the corporate tax rate at 28 per cent, this left Mr Blair with a tax liability of only £315,000.

Windrush Ventures is one of at least 12 companies and partnerships controlled by Mr Blair, who is thought to have channelled tens of millions of pounds through his various firms since leaving Downing Street in June 2007.

There is no suggestion that Mr Blair's tax affairs are in any way illegal. His accounts are audited by KPMG, one of the world's biggest accountancy firms, but their details are kept secret using a complex structure of companies and partnerships.

The arrangement is eerily similar to those which so angered him when he campaigned for the Labour leadership in 1994. "We must tackle abuse of the tax system," Mr Blair said then. "For those who can employ the right accountants, the tax system is a haven of scams, perks, City deals and profits.

"We should reward people who work hard and do well. We should not make our tax rules a playground for revenue avoiders and tax abusers who pay little or nothing while others pay more than their share." A City accountant from one of the "big four" auditing firms, who did not want to be named, said: "It is mystifying why the administrative expenses should be so large. £8m worth of expenses would be very hard to explain – perhaps that's why they remain unexplained.

"Given that money is all offset against tax, I would think more explanation would be necessary."

The revelations have drawn criticism from within Mr Blair's party. The Labour MP John Mann, who was highly vocal during the MPs expenses scandal, said: "All MPs and ex-MPs should pay their full tax and not use any tax avoidance schemes of any kind. The principle is absolute, particularly for politicians and former politicians."

Paul Flynn MP, an outspoken critic of Mr Blair, said: "He's doing no worse than what was expected of him.

"He's a shallow politician who manipulated his party and his country for his own ends."

A spokesman for Mr Blair refused to comment on the accounts, but said: "The Windrush accounts are prepared in accordance with the relevant legal, accounting and regulatory guidance. Tony Blair continues to be a UK taxpayer on all of his income and all of his companies are UK registered for tax purposes."

Mr Blair has come in for regular criticism for his extensive earnings and business activities since leaving office. He is on a £2.5m annual retainer with the American investment bank JP Morgan, a £500,000 annual salary advising the finance company Zurich, and earns at least £2m a year from his commercial consultancy Tony Blair Associates, which advises foreign governments including Kuwait and Kazakhstan.

He also charges up to £100,000 per speech on the after-dinner circuit, including one to a conference of toilet roll manufacturers in Florida, on top of the pension he receives as a former prime minister and taxpayer-funded armed police protection.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?