HMRC Has 'No Quibble' With Nadhim Zahawi, Michael Gove Insists

The levelling up secretary said the former chancellor had "paid his taxes" following reports he had settled a dispute with the taxman.
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Michael Gove has insisted that HMRC has “no quibble” with Nadhim Zahawi despite allegations he paid millions to settle a dispute over his tax affairs.

Zahawi, the chairman of the Conservative party, allegedly avoided tax by using an offshore company registered in Gibraltar to hold shares in YouGov, the polling company he co-founded.

The allegations have led to calls for an investigation into whether Zahawi - the former chancellor - broke the ministerial code, which Rishi Sunak has so far resisted.

He said during prime minister’s questions on Wednesday that Zahawi had “already addressed this matter in full and there’s nothing more that I can add”.

And today Zahawi was defended by Gove, who told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “Nadhim has paid his taxes.”

He added: “Someone paying their taxes isn’t a story, someone not paying their taxes is.”

Presenter Nick Robinson interjected: “What you have very carefully said is that he’s paid all of his tax — as in, he’s now paid all of his tax.

“The suggestion is that he had to pay millions — not the odd £100 or £1,000 here or there — millions of pounds in unpaid back tax.

“I would just ask you, are you effectively saying to the public, ‘nothing to see here, it’s all his private business and you’ve no right to know’?”

Gove replied: “HMRC are the tax authorities. They should scrutinise everyone’s tax return and make it clear to individuals and organisations what they should pay.

“People should and must pay up.

“My firm understanding is that HMRC have no quibble with Nadhim — he’s paid everything he should.”

The allegations against Zahawi came to light after the Sun on Sunday reported that the Cabinet minister’s family trust, Balshore Investments, held a stake in YouGov worth more than £20million before it was sold in 2018.

The newspaper cited estimations from the thinktank Tax Policy that Balshore’s sale of YouGov shares should have incurred capital gains tax of about £3.7million.

Zahawi has said he was not a beneficiary of the trust, but the newspaper said records showed that money he owed to YouGov was partly repaid from Balshore dividends.

A spokesman for Zahawi has said his taxes are “properly declared” and he “has never had to instruct any lawyers to deal with HMRC on his behalf”.

HuffPost UK has contacted Zahawi for comment.


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