Baroness Scotland Faces Questions Over Housekeeper’s Tax Affairs

Baroness Scotland faces questions over housekeepers tax affairs

By John Bingham
The Telegraph (U.K.), October 4, 2009

The cleaner, a Tongan national who was working illegally in Britain after overstaying by five years on a student visa, claimed that the peer did not give her regular payslips or a formal contract of employment.

She alleged that Lady Scotland, the Governments chief law officer, only spoke about sorting out her tax affairs when the scandal over MPs expenses broke, following disclosures in the Daily Telegraph.

The peer was fined 5,000 by the UK Border Agency last month for employing the Tongan without keeping records of documents purporting to show that she was entitled to live and work in Britain.

Mrs Tapui-Zivancevic has disclosed that she was paid weekly with a cheque made out to her husband Alexander, a solicitor, as she did not have her own bank account because of her illegal immigration status.

Baroness Scotland has made clear repeatedly that she paid tax and National Insurance contributions for her former housekeeper directly.

But the Mail on Sunday reported that the cleaners personal records show that no income tax was deducted from her until the end of the last financial year, in April, by which point she had been working there for 10 weeks.

Although she was well below the 6,035 threshold for the year at that point, HM Revenue and Customs confirmed that it would have been more usual for income tax to have been deducted on a monthly pro-rata basis.

Mrs Tapui-Zivancevic said: 'When the expenses scandal was on TV every day she said: Ive got to sort out your tax.'

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General declined to comment on the latest claims.