Belfast Telegraph

Martin McGuinness and David Ford latest Northern Ireland leaders to reveal earnings from tax return

Deputy First Minister earned £111,000 for tax year

Justice Minister David Ford
Justice Minister David Ford
David Ford Tax Return form 1/2
David Ford tax return form 2/2
Martin McGuinness
Martin McGuinness P60.
Martin McGuinness' tax return.
First Minister Arlene Foster
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt
Arlene Foster’s tax returns
Arlene Foster's tax form
Mike Nesbitt’s tax returns
Mike Nesbitt’s tax returns

By Noel McAdam & Jonny Bell

Martin McGuinness and David Ford have become the latest Northern Ireland leaders to publish their tax returns in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

The figures show the deputy First Minister earned £111,600 before tax for the 2014/15 year and paid £37,143 in tax.

The documents also reveal he was paid £61,900 in benefits and expenses.

The Mid-Ulster MLA published bank statements when he ran in the Irish Presidential election of 2011, a move his party said was "unprecedented" at the time.

Sinn Fein said Mr McGuinness's Assembly income was taxed at source under PAYE.

Political leaders in Northern Ireland hurried to publicise the details of their income tax returns after David Cameron became embroiled in the scandal.

Justice minister David Ford was the Northern Ireland party leader to release his tax return form in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal.

Mr Ford released his submission to the HMRC which does not detail how much he paid in tax.

However the document showed he earned £86,000 before tax in the year 2014/2015.

The documents reveal he recorded £59,802 in office cost expenditures.

DUP leader Mrs Foster disclosed that as the former Enterprise Minister she had a salary of £78,212 on which she paid tax of £20,528.

Her allowances, which are balanced against expenses, were given as £65,553.

However, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt was first out of the blocks yesterday.

His papers showed an income of £52,754 in 2014/15 and that he paid a total of £10,698.60 in tax.

The return also shows Mr Nesbitt recorded £69,238 in office cost allowances and expenditure.

Within hours he was followed by SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

And there was a promise from Alliance leader David Ford to publish "as soon as possible".

Then a raft of others, including TUV chief Jim Allister, revealed their intention to go public on their tax affairs.

The potential flood of politicians' tax returns comes in the aftermath of revelations that the Prime Minister had benefited from selling shares in his father's offshore investment fund, Blairmore Holdings.

Its accounts were among 11.5m records held by law firm Mossack Fonseca released in the Panama Papers leak last week.

SDLP chief Mr Eastwood had "no beneficiary interest in any offshore fund, account or company", the party said.

"Mr Eastwood has called on all party leaders and all members of the Conservative Cabinet to make a similar declaration," it said in the statement.

Yesterday the SDLP's manifesto launch in Dungannon was told Mr Eastwood was to "outline new proposals around transparency to hold departments, ministers and MLAs to account".

And Mr Ford said: "I am happy to release all information on my tax returns and will be speaking to my accountant to do so as quickly as possible. However, I can go better now and detail my income fully - it is derived solely from my work as an MLA and minister, plus a small amount of interest from a building society savings account, minus the interest I pay on the mortgage on a small family farm."

The Justice Minister said public confidence in politics had never been lower and to attempt to remove "the stench of corruption" all local parties should voluntarily release the identities of their donors, as Alliance already did.

The NIO said earlier this year that "the time is not yet right to move to full transparency (on donations to parties), due to ongoing concerns about the potential for donor intimidation".

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph