Vince Cable fined for failing to pay £25,000 in tax
VINCE Cable, the British business secretary, has been fined £500 (€574) for failing to pay up to £25,000 in VAT on his media work and book deals, it has been claimed.
His aides told The Sun the error was made "unknowingly".
In the two years before he became minister, Mr Cable is said to have made a considerable sum from media engagements, although he ceased most of his freelance work after joining the Government in May 2010.
He earned an estimated £192,000, £20,000 of which came from book deals, on top of his annual MP's salary of £65,738, it is claimed.
But the former Liberal Democrat deputy leader, who has run several campaigns against tax evasion, did not tell HMRC when his income exceeded a pre-set threshold.
Under HMRC rules, if a person's annual turnover of VAT-liable goods and services period exceeds the current threshold of £73,000, they must register for the duty within 30 days.
By failing to register the sum as liable to VAT, the Business Secretary breached the rules and incurred a £500 fine, the newspaper reports.
Mr Cable's aides told The Sun the mistake was spotted by his personal accountants in January while his tax return for the previous financial year was being finalised.
They said the accountants notified HMRC officials and apologised for the "oversight" before offering to pay any tax that was due.
The minister was billed for a figure of "less than £15,000", after a tax rebate on his charity donations was taken into account, a spokeswoman told the newspaper.
Mr Cable is said to have sent a cheque to the Revenue by mid-February and was let off with a penalty of just £500, usually £1,000.
His spokeswoman said in a statement: "All Vince's tax affairs are above board, and he went out of his way to settle this quickly."
Myrus Smith, Mr Cable's accountants, told The Sun that there were no outstanding tax payments.
"When it became clear that Mr Cable's earnings had breached the level at which VAT was payable, an offer to settle immediately and in full was made to HMRC and this was duly accepted," a spoksman said.
"The matter was dealt with within a month of the Revenue being informed in the first instance and is now closed."