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6 things that may happen if you falsely claim expenses

The row over MP expenses has taken another twist and many MPs are now being told they should pay back claims approved since 2004. Bob Jones, former HMRC inspector of taxes, throws us his two pence worth.

I see that some MPs are a little reluctant to repay some or all of the expenses that they have claimed.

I find the whole thing rather perplexing. For example, MPs are entitled to a second home allowance even though when elected for a full term they undoubtedly break the 24 month rule and according to the law passed in Parliament they are unable to claim such allowances tax free..

Not content with being able to claim outside the law it appears that some then claim for non allowable (e.g. videos), or even non existent, expenses (e.g. mortgages that no longer exist).

The way I see it is that you claim within the rules and it is the rules are wrong then it is the rules that need to be changed but it appears that in some cases the "over generous" rules have not only been bent but, on occasions, have been blatantly broken.

I spent 39 years in the employment of the Inland Revenue/HMRC. My expense claims were 100% honest, 100% correct and 100% within the rules but moreover the rules were 100% within the law as passed by our MPs.

That apart when I claimed my expenses I had to sign the claim form which contained a statement to the effect that false claims could result in disciplinary action being taken against me.

It seems that some of the MPs will get away with simply repaying elements of their claim but if I had falsely claimed my expenses the likely effect would have been:

1 Dismissal
2 Loss of pension
3 A term of imprisonment
4 On release from prison doubtful future job prospects leading to
5 Probable financial ruin and
6 A strain on family relationship leading to possible complete marital breakdown.

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Image: Angry by JelleS

Bob Jones
13th October 2009