A campaign by anti-monarchy group Republic calling for the Duchy of Cornwall to pay corporation tax has been given a major boost with a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary tonight and a parliamentary inquiry later this month.

Following its investigation into the Duchy in December last year, Republic questioned why the property empire pays no corporation tax on its multi-million pound profits, paid directly to Prince Charles every year. It reported the Duchy to HMRC’s tax-avoidance unit and wrote to Margaret Hodge MP in her role as chair of the Commons public accounts committee (PAC), asking her to investigate.

As a result of Republic’s lobbying the PAC announced a parliamentary hearing into the Prince’s tax affairs. William Nye, Charles’s principal private secretary, and Keith Willis, the estate’s finance director, will both appear before MPs on July 15. Republic will submit written evidence to the committee, detailing the findings of its investigation.

Following on from the media coverage of the campaign Channel 4′s Dispatches has investigated the scale of the Duchy’s property empire and looked at the amount of tax Charles is paying. In an interview for the programme, to be broadcast on Channel 4 at 8pm tonight, Hodge draws parallels between the Duchy and Starbucks, which has been widely criticised over its tax affairs.

Republic’s chief executive Graham Smith said today:

“Many MPs agree with us that the Duchy’s current tax arrangements are simply untenable – after tonight’s Dispatches we’re sure most of the public will too. Everyone has a moral obligation to pay a fair rate of tax, whether that’s Starbucks, Google or the heir to the throne.”

“Unlike multinational corporations Prince Charles doesn’t have to create some complex network of overseas companies and offices. He simply insists that he shouldn’t have to pay and hides behind his very own onshore tax-haven – depriving the public coffers of millions of pounds.”

“At a time when the country is under unprecedented economic stress it is unacceptable that the heir to the throne is avoiding his tax obligations in this way.”

“The government’s acquiescence in this matter raises serious questions in light of the secret access Charles has to ministers.”

“The Duchy’s continued and determined resistance to paying tax raises serious questions about the judgement and priorities of Prince Charles.”

“We welcome the Dispatches and PAC investigations and hope that this exposure of the Duchy’s tax arrangements will force the government to act.”


Republic’s letter to HMRC and Margaret Hodge can be seen at www.republic.org.uk/hmrc_charles_letter.pdf.

Charles has avoided corporation tax by claiming that there is no legal distinction between him and his Duchy and that he already pays income tax. However, an information rights tribunal recently ruled that the Duchy is a separate legal entity – see http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/dec/14/prince-charles-estate-tax-avoid....