Calabasas, CA (PressExposure) March 16, 2011 -- Ever wondered, if you are getting the same allowances as your minister / mp (i.e those on mapmiles.com). I think not! But you'd be surprised they are subject to a good deal of rules like you. But yeah, you guessed it the one or two exceptions make a big difference to the wallet of the MP or Minister.
The leaflet by HM Revenue & Customs entitled "MPs, Ministers and tax" designed for use by the MP's and Ministers gives a good synopsis of the rules applicable to MP's and Ministers.
As an MP or Minister all payments and facilities you receive by reason of your office are taxable, unless there is a specific exemption or an Extra-Statutory Concession (ESC) covering the particular item.
There are four main types of expenditure which a minister of MP can claim from the Department of Finance and Administration.
* Additional Costs Allowance (ACA) for the additional cost of staying overnight away from home.
* Incidental Expenses Provision (lEP) for the expenses of running an office or purchasing equipment and buying in services.
* Staffing Allowance for the expense of employing staff. For example, secretaries and research assistants.
* Travel Allowances for your journeys on Parliamentary business.
Details on these allowances can be found in the Green Book which is a guide to members allowances:
The ACA is specifically exempted but there is no tax relief for any expenditure above this.
IEP is subject to general tax rules and is taxable but expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the minister or MP's duties as a Member. The staffing allowance is taxable appears to have the same rules as for the IEP.
Travel allowances are taxable but there are some exceptions:
There is an exemption for travelling and related expenses received in respect of members visits to a EU institution, a national parliament of another member state or European Free Trade Association member.
There are special rules regarding journeys which are allowable. For example:
* journeys between your main home and Westminster;
* between Westminster and your constituency
* between your main home and your constituency on your duties as a Member within your constituency
* any other travel in the UK on parliamentary business (provided it qualifies under the rules in force for extended travel and subject to prior clearance with the Department of Finance and Administration).
The general rules for normal employees is that travel expenses between home and work are NOT allowed. This is a significant difference when you consider the payment per mile.
The two key differences between ministers / mp's and the public appear to be the additional cost allowance and the differing rules regarding travel from home. While these differences are few in number they are significant in monetary terms.
Also of note is that MP's and ministers are allowed to use the Motor Mileage Allowance for their mileage expenses which means that even ministers of the parliament (or their assistants) and MP's could be using http://www.mapmiles.com to calculate mileage expenses / mileage allowance and distances between two points.