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Why are MPs expenses treated differently by the taxman?

The revelation that MPs are able to claim a second home allowance on a property which in the eyes of the taxman is their main residence has confused many across the UK. It is also worth noting that MPs expenses do not incur any tax charges and are in fact a tax-free "gravy train" which has mushroomed over the last few years. So why are MPs expenses treated differently by the taxman?

The simple fact is that back in the 1980s MPs effectively wrote their own expenses guidelines and expense allowances. They also inserted various clauses which effectively took these expenses out of the remit of the Treasury and the taxman. So while we see basic salaries mentioned in the press these can be significantly increased by use of the tax-free expenses system which is totally different to the system in place for the rest of the UK public.

The bottom line is that MPs, until recently, have been able to change and adapt the expenses system to suit their own needs without any recourse to outside parties. However, it now looks as though we may potentially have a third-party monitor installed in the short to medium term which would effectively take away control of MPs expenses from MPs themselves. There are many "crinkles" in the system, which need to be ironed out before UK politics can regain the moral high ground.

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