Feb 28, 2017
Nick Mathiason requested tax records from Lord O'Donnell
Dear Lord O'Donnell
Around the world many legislators are responding to their electorate’s demands and are rightly becoming more transparent about their finances and the tax they pay.
In Norway and Sweden the tax returns of all citizens, including public officials and politicians are publicly available. In Italy, Members of Parliament (MPs) must file their tax returns with the parliamentary authorities every year. This is then made available for inspection by electors.
After the Centre for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan uncovered widespread tax abuse amongst MPs, tax details of all citizens including legislators in Pakistan are now published.
There is, in our view, a clear and substantial public interest in legislators fully disclosing their sources of income and their tax payments. This is because legislators are paid by taxpayers to make decisions on taxation and on how our money is spent on behalf of all of us. The aim is transparency, accountability and an avoidance of wrongdoing and conflicts of interest.
In no way are we accusing you of any wrongdoing – far from it. But as a member of the House of Lords we would be grateful if you could answer the following simple questions that will aid this international drive for transparency.
- Do you support moves to make the tax returns and financial assets of appointed officials routinely available for public inspection?
- What reservations and caveats might you have about such a move?
- Did you file a tax return?
- Please provide us with a copy of your latest tax return?
- Please state the precise amount of tax you paid in the most recent full tax year
- If you can’t provide us with a copy of your latest tax return or state the amount of tax you paid, please tell us your reason?
This request is being made to all national legislators in over 20 countries and is being coordinated by Finance Uncovered, an international financial investigative reporting network based in London.
Please send your response within one month by replying to this email. Our aim is publish the responses and disclose the names of all legislators who do not respond to our questions or requests.