Page last updated at 09:30 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Zac Goldsmith gains 'few benefits' from non-dom status

Zac Goldsmith
Zac Goldsmith says he is tax resident in the UK

Environmentalist and Conservative Parliamentary candidate Zac Goldsmith said he had gained "very few benefits" from having non-domiciled tax status.

Mr Goldsmith, who inherited millions from his father Sir James, denied claims he "dodged" huge sums in tax.

But the Lib Dems have called on the Conservatives to sack him as a candidate for Richmond Park in London, which is currently held by them.

Mr Goldsmith also advises Tory leader David Cameron on green issues.

Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott said: "He's not fit to sit in Parliament, when he's claimed non-dom status all his life to keep his offshore hundreds of millions free of income, capital gains or inheritance tax."

But Mr Goldsmith strongly denied suggestions he had "dodged" tax and said he would be giving up any benefits he did derive from the arrangement, which he inherited from his father.

The would-be Tory MP said: "For Lord Oakeshott to suggest that I have 'dodged' any tax is simply defamatory.

"My annual tax returns are all signed off by the Inland Revenue and there are no outstanding matters between us."

'Private matter'

He went on: "His suggestion that I keep money offshore 'free of income tax, inheritance tax and capital gains tax' is also entirely wrong.

"Despite having been non-domiciled because of my father's status, I have always chosen to be tax resident in the UK.

"Virtually everything I do is in the UK and therefore virtually all my income comes to the UK where I pay full tax on it.

"I do not derive any benefits as far as either capital gains tax or inheritance is concerned since I am registered for the latter in the UK.

"Because of my own choices, the non-domicile status has delivered very few benefits. I have, in any event, already decided to relinquish it."

A Conservative spokesman said: "Zac Goldsmith's private affairs are a matter for him."

The Sunday Times reported that some of Mr Goldsmith's properties, including a 300-acre ecological farm in Devon and a house in Richmond, were owned by companies based in the Cayman Islands.

The Conservatives have pledged to impose a £25,000 annual levy on so-called "non-doms" to pay for a cut in inheritance tax, if they win power.

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