Margaret Thatcher the tax snatcher? Mystery of her £6m house with links to THREE tax havens
Financial experts said it could have been a scheme which would help her estate avoid millions of pounds in inheritance tax
Financial experts said it could have been a scheme which would help her estate avoid millions of pounds in inheritance tax.
But because her affairs are shrouded in such extraordinary secrecy it may be impossible to find out.
The trail leads to offshore businesses in the British Virgin Islands with links to Liechtenstein and Jersey.
The £6million property she lived in for more than 20 years is owned by Bakeland Property Company, based in the BVI.
The company’s official address is a PO Box in a small town in Liechtenstein and it had its original roots in St Helier, Jersey.
Any suggestion of avoiding a £2.4m inheritance tax bill will spark outrage following the row over who is paying for Thatcher’s lavish £10m funeral.
PAAnd John Christensen, of the Tax Justice Network, said: “How can a former prime minister spend more than two decades living in a house in London that has been owned for many years by a company based in the British Virgin Islands?
“This does not pass the smell test and simply cannot be allowed to happen in 21st Century Britain.
"We all have a duty to pay our taxes, and that includes former politicians.
"Politicians and in particular prime ministers have a duty to be transparent with their financial affairs.”
Records at the government’s Land Registry HQ in Croydon, South London showed that on March 29, 2006, Bakeland paid £2,395,807 for the house at Chester Square in Belgravia, London.
It is unclear who they purchased the house from because they were also named on the lease when the house was originally bought on October 30, 1991 for a reported £700,000 in 1991.
There are two leases on the property, which a Land Registry source described as “unusual”.
The first one was taken out on October 18, 1991, and lasts until December 25, 2030.
The second was taken out on July 29 and runs out in 2055.
The latest lease mysteriously stated: “The airspace above the building is excluded from the title.”
Bakeland Property Company Ltd trustees were originally listed as Jersey-based Hugh Thurston and Leonard Day, her friends and financial advisers.
In 2002 The Guardian reported that Bakeland’s shares were held by Mr Day and Mr Thurston.
Accountants said they were acting as nominees for a trust with concealed beneficiaries.
As Lady Thatcher did not own the house herself it is possible, depending on the terms of her will, that her children Mark and Carol could benefit.
If the property was listed in the name of their mother they would been subject to 40% tax on the entire value of the home – an estimated £2.4m.
Both Mark and Carol visited the house in Chester Square last night.
Tax campaigner Mr Christensen added: “There are huge financial benefits for an offshore company to own a property or leasehold particulaly in connection with stamp duty and inheritance tax.
“A company doesn’t die. If a person dies the property has to be passed on to someone else – obviously this is not the case with a company.
“This can be very beneficial indeed and can save a large amount of money in taxes which would be othewise due.”
The Mirror called the British Virgin Financial Services Commission which confirmed that the company which now owns Thatcher’s house had been based there since August 19, 2005.
The question marks over the Thatcher home come as police in London prepare for demos this weekend following the former Prime Minister’s death on Monday.
Anarchists threatened a mass “party” to celebrate her death and protesters say a demonstration in Trafalgar Square today will be a focus for discontent in the run-up to Wednesday’s funeral.
NWN: And here comes the sleaze and corruption ! Give it a week and the place will be awash with the shenanigans of Thatcher, the bankers moll ! But she is/was no different from all the other 'establishment' politicians.