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Prince's tax arrangements queried

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 17, 2012

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CLARENCE House has defended the Prince of Wales's financial arrangements after he was reported to authorities over claims the Duchy of Cornwall is a "well entrenched tax avoidance scheme".

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said it had written to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, asking them to investigate the £728 million organisation's tax arrangements.

It claims an information commissioner ruling in November last year means the 675-year-old Duchy is a separate legal entity to the Prince – to whom it paid more than £18 million last year – making it liable for corporation tax. Clarence House disputed this, saying the Duchy is a trust set up to generate income for Princes of Wales and not liable to pay the tax.

A spokesman said: "The Prince voluntarily pays income tax on income generated by the Duchy, so there is no legal requirement to pay corporation tax and to do so would result in double taxation."

Andrew George, MP for St Ives, said the Duchy needed to decide if it was a private estate or a body with "very unique" constitutional status.

He said: "My personal view is it is not a private estate but has a whole range of constitutional roles that can't be divided from its business activities. The bottom line is the Duchy can't have it both ways."

The Duchy is the estate given to the heir to the throne, and according to its 2012 accounts, comprises around 53,408 hectares of land in 24 counties, mostly in the South West of England and including the whole of the Isles of Scilly.

Charles receives the "revenue surplus" from the estate, and the Duchy's accounts show it grew by 2.8 per cent to £18.3 million in the past financial year. Its total worth grew by £32 million to £728 million, due to "buoyant agricultural property values".

An HMRC spokesman said it does not comment on the affairs of individual taxpayers.

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  • Jonny2010  |  December 18 2012, 12:09PM

    "The Prince voluntarily pays income tax on income generated by the Duchy, so there is no legal requirement to pay corporation tax and to do so would result in double taxation." I've never heard anything like it!!! Personally I don't fancy paying income tax this year, I will voluntarily pay corporation tax instead. If I have to pay income tax as well, it would result in double taxation!

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  • Gurnards_Head  |  December 18 2012, 11:03AM

    THEY WOULD DENY IT... WOULD THEY NOT? The Duchy is in a permanent state of denial with regard to all matters contrary to its best interests, they have honed the dark arts of fudge and obfuscation into an art form.

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  • cheekyman_jr  |  December 18 2012, 10:44AM

    youngcornwall, you may be prepared to put up with the passive racism that is displayed on these forums, but I'm sick of it. The moment anyone says anything positive about Cornwall, however small, there's always at least one ****** who's going to start chucking round the "nats" tag or making shallow assumptions about the Cornish (whether we believe in independence or not). I do apologise for the "baiting" comment though, that was childish of me...

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  • Doitdreckley  |  December 17 2012, 8:50PM

    Hang on, its 2012 not 1012. Is that all we are, worthless peasants?

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  • youngcornwall  |  December 17 2012, 12:59PM

    by cheekyman_jr "I don't Othursty! It's christmas (almost) and I love nothing more than baiting the anti-Cornish." And this kind of childish behaviour does no one any good least of all the Cornish.

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  • josdave  |  December 17 2012, 12:02PM

    It's not just the Duchy of Cornwall but most multinational companies asnd top businessmen practice a form of tax avoidance while those at the bottom of the scale have tax deducted before they get their pay. And who has to bear the brunt of all the cutbacks because of the recession caused by those at the top? Why those at the bottom who are least able to bear the cost of the austerity measures. All in it together? Don't make me laugh.

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  • cheekyman_jr  |  December 17 2012, 11:37AM

    I don't Othursty! It's christmas (almost) and I love nothing more than baiting the anti-Cornish. I accept that we are part of the UK, and as far as I'm aware, we pay taxes to the UK government. I don't think the Duchy shouldn't pay tax, that'd be ridiculous wouldn't it? I think we all should, even people who jump to silly little conclusions. If you could explain how in my comment implies that I "think that people living in Cornwall should be lechers of the land, squatters - the very people undermining the very fabric of society and all that is good" I'd be most grateful. I imagine that you won't, because your comment implies that you are only interested in jumping to conclusions rather than actively involving yourself in any sort of fact-based discussion, but you know what? I could be wrong.

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  • Othursty1  |  December 17 2012, 10:07AM

    The simply answer, ckeekyman, is that everyone living in England must pay tax 'to England', as you put it. I hope this answer's your question, however, I sense you are one of these people who will not be content with truth. Therefore, I put it to you, cheekyman, why do your sort bang on about being not in a county of England but a Duchy - but then think the Duchy of Cornwall should be exempt from paying tax? I'm guessing you are one of those people that like to think that people living in Cornwall should be lechers of the land, squatters - the very people undermining the very fabric of society and all that is good - because this is certainly what you are implying by your comment.

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  • cheekyman_jr  |  December 17 2012, 9:41AM

    Why should anyone in Cornwall pay tax to England?

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