The prime minister jumped first – releasing his personal tax records at the weekend before other MPs did so this week – but not before growing anger over revelations in the Panama Papers threatened to derail his premiership.
Facing MPs on Monday for the first time since the controversy blew up, Cameron said he had sold the shares he owned in his late father’s offshore investment fund – making a £19,000 profit in 2010 after paying tax – to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest.
Six years later, perhaps he hasn’t quite managed to stave off that perception. Either way, the revelation that he has made more than £1m worth of taxable income during that time from no fewer than six sources of taxable income is unlikely to dispel perceptions of the prime minister as a rather rich man indeed.
It never seemed likely that the leader of the Labour party would be unmasked as a man benefiting hugely from a complex web of offshore entities.
Instead, and after a seat-of-the-pants search for documents resulted in him releasing a 10-page photocopy of his tax return just as Cameron was on his feet in the Commons – we learned that Corbyn earned £1,850 over his official parliamentary salary. It included £1,350 for lecturing and £500 for completing a survey.
In case it was in doubt, the document also underlined that time-keeping isn’t Corbyn’s strongest suit. The document shows the tax return was filed five days late, earning him a £100 charge.
In contrast to others, the chancellor’s release of information for just one year is unlikely to spare him further scrutiny.
For what it was worth though, we learned that he earned almost £200,000 by topping up his chancellor’s salary with rental income and dividends from his family’s wallpaper firm.
The amount included £33,562 from renting out his share of his west London family home – less than the sum of about £45,000 a year made by Cameron from his north Kensington property.
The total income of the chancellor, whose tax bill was £72,210, came to £198,738, putting him alongside the prime minister in the top rate of tax.
Maybe there’s money to be made in journalism after all. The disclosures included an updated tax statement from the Mayor of London, showing that he earned £484,384 in 2014-15 alone after expenses from book royalties and his Daily Telegraph column (an income he once dismissed as “chicken feed”).
Including his mayoral salary, the four years of details published by Johnson revealed that he paid £916,481 of tax on income of £1.99m.
As for his earnings in relation to the two men with whom he has shared an on-off political rivalry, a cynic might expect the mayor to take some quiet satisfaction from the revelation that in 2014-15 he made considerably more money than his old Bullingdon Club fellows, Osborne and Cameron.
Labour’s former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna published a scanned copy of his tax return for 2014-15, setting a precedent that other members of the Treasury select committee will presumably thank him for when they gather again.
The one-time Labour leadership candidate added that he would be publishing his return each year in future. His income before tax was just over £60,000.
The shadow chancellor released his tax details back in January, showing he earned £61,575 and paid £14,253 in tax.
The disclosure, which followed the government’s agreement with Google that saw the tech firm pay £130m in back taxes covering the past decade, was accompanied by a challenge from McDonnell for Osborne to be “open and transparent” about his personal income.
The Labour backbencher took the opportunity on Monday to reveal that her total taxable income for 2014-15 was £58,724, for which the total tax paid was £12,965.80.
Not a revelation to set the world alight then, but a logical move from an MP who recently launched a bill calling on the government to force large multinational companies to make their tax records publicly available to all.
This article was written by Ben Quinn, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 12th April 2016 06.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010