Group says Prince Charles avoiding tax

Dec. 15, 2012 at 2:01 PM
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LONDON, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- A republican group in Britain says Prince Charles's estate should be paying corporate income taxes.

Republic, which advocates substituting an elected head of state for the monarchy, has asked Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to determine if a court ruling last year means the Duchy of Cornwall is a corporation for tax purposes, The Guardian reported. The group suggested the duchy is "a well-entrenched tax avoidance scheme."

The prince received 18 million pounds ($29 million) from the duchy last year, which has large real estate holdings and is valued at 700 million pounds ($131 million). The prince's advisers say it is not "a separate legal entity for tax purposes" but a judge on the information rights tribunal found it is separate from the Prince of Wales.

Queen Elizabeth II has paid income and capital gains taxes since 1992, in a deal that exempted her from estate taxes when Elizabeth the Queen Mother died a decade later. Charles paid 5 million pounds ($8 million) in income tax last year, and his office says the amount was calculated at the top rate and his return was audited by HMRC.

Charles also received 2.2 million pounds ($3.6 million) in government grants last year to pay for official travel and running expenses for Clarence House, his official London residence.

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