Please could I be supplied with copies of all correspondence between Ipsa and HMRC regarding the tax treatment of MPs' expenses since the beginning of 2015.
IPSA holds the information that you request.
In providing this information, we have withheld:
- the identities of staff members below Director level, under section 40 of the FOIA, and
- any content falling outside the remit of your request (i.e. not relating to the tax treatment of MPs’ expenses).
Information relating to individual members of staff (both at IPSA and HMRC) is ‘personal data’, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Section 40(2) provides that personal information about third parties (as defined by the DPA) is exempt information if disclosure would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the DPA, where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. We believe that disclosing the identities of staff members below director level would breach their rights to privacy and would not be ‘fair’ (as defined by the DPA). You can find out more information about personal data and the relationship between the DPA and the FOIA via guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on their website: http://ico.org.uk.
For reference, HMRC’s guidance to Ministers and MPs on tax and national insurance contributions can be found at the following address: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/429906/2015-05-07_Tax_and_NI_guide_for_MPs_and_Ministers_accessible.pdf.