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Did you pay the tax, John?

Written By: - Date published: 6:38 am, September 24th, 2008 - 34 comments
Categories: corruption, crime, john key, tax - Tags:

Generally, when you buy capital and later sell it, there is no tax payable on any profit. Unless you buy with the propose of selling the capital for a profit. That being the case, your buying and selling of the capital is engaging in an activity to generate income and tax is payable. It is the intention that matters and an evidentiary matter whether or not a capital transaction is made for the purpose of making a profit on the sale of the capital.

So far, so boring. But what this is where it gets interesting: John Key asked a bunch of questions to the Government (the answers to most of which would only have been read by him), he then bought shares in Tranz Rail, met with a prospective buyer, and tried to talk up the share price before selling them just five weeks later. He later stated that he had bought the shares simply to make money. Both the rapidity with which the sale followed the purchase and Key’s statement seem to show that Key bought the shares with the purpose of making a capital profit. That makes it taxable.

So, did he pay the tax?

34 comments on “Did you pay the tax, John? ”

  1. monkey boy 1

    I’d love to know if his tax is all in order, too. It’s interesting, is it not, how even though you keep trying to get some little gobbet of dirt to stick to Teflon-John, for some reason, it just keeps sliding away. Looks like he really is a s’slippery’ as you have once suggested. Or, in contrast to the recent events surrounding Winston Peters, he could be caught on film shooting puppies and still look relatively ethical by comparison. Despite recent opinions here about the stupid and lazy electorate, perhaps the voters aren’t to easily drawn in by this dog and pony show?

  2. monkey boy 2

    Sorry, I misquoted you. Not ‘stupid and lazy’. I was referring to ‘ignorance or the apathy’ that you appear to feel characterises the voting public. ie:
    “But remember that every time National gets away with making a fundamentally dishonest attack that it relies on the ignorance or the apathy of the public to succeed.”
    I think they aren’t, and I think a brief scan of the letters pages of the Herald will back me up. Not only are they unconcerned by large by the recent news about Key, they are in a large majority (90+%) quite angry with Labour over the Winstongate thing.
    ‘Teflon John’ once again walks away from another Labour Train-wreck. Anyway that’s me for today I am sure you will be relieved to hear. No more ‘can of whup-ass’ for you today, Steve. The floor is yours. And of course uber-leutenant ‘Robinsod’s, whom, I am sure will be staunch in his attempts to violently quash dissent.

    Lee – monkey with typewriter
    ps Anita – run away with me?

  3. uber-leutenant

    Oh I do like that – It makes me sound real tough! Do I get a hat with a badge on it?

  4. vto 4

    oh, the next headline for clark and the labour goons to scream is it? Go on. It is exactly what the public want rid of – clark cullen mallard benson-pope etc screaming… ugly

    But what are you concerned about anyway SP – you are the one who said yesterday that the price of making your own type of laws is keeping a proven crim in govt.

    I’m still not sure what standards you expect from govt. ?

  5. djp 5

    apparently he made a loss.. which would make this post bunk (unless of course someone is trying a deliberate smear, but im sure steve is above that)

  6. monkey boy

    I placed a very moderate anti John Key comment on the NZHerald. Guess what. It didn’t survive moderation.

    I guess that means that they moderate to give the impression that the NZ voter is pro Key.

  7. djp,

    No, he made a profit with his own shares.

  8. vto 8

    travellerev, try similar on winstonpeters.com. ha ha ha ha. it is so far from being a blog it is simply a campaign billboard. Still, Peters does read it (and even posted a comment in reply) so it is a direct route to the chief clown.

  9. jaymam 9

    djp, Key knew he’d made a loss on the first two purchases of shares that his trust bought in February 2002 for $3.60 each, when he bought more in May 2003 for 45 cents each. He then made a quick $28,500 profit by selling those a month later for $1.02 each, having pumped up the price in his newsletter. Obviously the original 50,000 were then sold at a loss, but not as big a loss as it would have been without the pumped price.

    Talking of newsletters, a Google search shows me a Stuff article about Key that used to mention the word “newsletter”, but when I click on the link the article no longer contains the word “newsletter” or the contents of that newsletter.
    Has all mention of the newsletter been censored? Tumeke tries to refer to the same article.

    See a picture of the search result here:
    http://i34.tinypic.com/sglfkw.jpg

  10. djp 10

    travellerev, are you making a distinction between shares he owned vs shareds his trust owned? I dont know all the details but regardless it is still a laughable post.

    Have *you* paid tax on all your income this year!!

    It seems to be a fishing expedition.. there are thousands of traders who make profit in NZ why arent we asking all them if they have paid tax?

    jaymam, cheers for the info.. i still dont get the point of the post (eg i personally have earned some income this year, have I paid tax? oooh i smell a story)

  11. Billy 11

    No future in this for the government. If the IRD investigates everything Hooten says is true.

    [if anything Hooten ever says is true it would be a surprise. SP]

  12. Whistling in the dark, Steve? Key has already provided documentary proof that all the shares were bought and sold by his family trust. So the trust made a loss and Key made no personal gain. The very fact that he became uncomfortable with the trust owning Tranzrail shares while he was dealing with Tranzrail in parliament and insisted that they be sold (even at a loss), places him a long way above those notable paragons of honesty, Peters and Clark.

    [he made a profit on the second bundle MacDoctor and it’s that bundle that coul be taxable because they were bought and sold rapidly for a large profit. SP]

  13. Aj 13

    Key may have no personal tax liability if his shares were in a trust?

  14. Billy 14

    I think some were in trust and some were held in Key’s own name, Aj.

    As I said before, if IRD looks into it it is going to appear as if they are pursuing Cullen’s personal vendettas. Something which would cause Labour, already facing accusations of using the machinery of government to pursue its political agenda, more harm than good.

    And, in any event, Key would just say he bought them to hold but was compelled to sell them because of the political sensitivities. If a taxpayer started with an intention to hold for dividend income and his or her circumstances change, any profit is not taxable.

  15. Jeeves 15

    If the shares were bought on revenue account (ie with the purpose of resale, or because the Trust trades in shares) the Trust would need to pay tax on the gain or would receive a deduction for the loss. We wouldn’t know whether they are on revenue account without a LOT more information, but on the face of it they would apeear to be.
    We know the shares were bought by the Trust, not Key personally. If Travelerev wants to keep up her conspiracy theory about the sharebroker forging the contracts, I guess thats her own decision. But that sort of thing would explain the moderation by the Herald (whose article on the matter is hardly fawning adoration for John Key).

  16. vidiot 16

    “I think some were in trust and some were held in Key’s own name, Aj.”

    All of the share trades were in the trust name [JB & PI Key Family Trust] see here – http://www.national.org.nz/files/2008/1/share_contracts.pdf

  17. vidiot. That’s not what One News’ evidence says. Should we believe Key?

  18. Billy 18

    Steve,

    Who ever owned them, if they were bought with the intention to hold for dividend income and were sold (albeit shortly thereafter) because it was decided it was inappropriate for them to be held by someone associated with the opposition spokesperson on the issue, any profit would not be taxable.

    That seems likely.

    And, for the reasons outlined above, if IRD investigates, that will look rather bad for Dr Cullen.

  19. vto 19

    SP again as you keep ignoring my question – why on earth are you worried about any other party with minor misdemeanours when you have said you are happy to keep a perjurer in a labour govt in order to pass laws favourable to your own politics?

    What are your standards for those in govt?

    One other question – what would Peters have to do for Clark to fire him?

  20. Bill 20

    From Tumeke. The video is hilairious:

    I have always been curious as to what position Key held with Merrill Lynch in New York. This article:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3715/is_/ai_n8869409

    …….informs us:

    “John Key, managing director of debt markets at Merrill Lynch, ……..”

    To understand debt markets just think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    This video is instructive:

    http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=TD5JTPhBhJw

  21. ghostwhowalks 21

    Some documents provided to Key ( with the look of a fax in 2008!!,) by his sharebroker list his family trust but if the Company share register lists them in his personal name, its the share register that is the correct version.

    No ifs or buts, the share register is the correct legal listing of who owns what and just as importantly when.
    The documents from the sharebroker seem to list only the trading account name. This NOT a listing of who was the registered owner.

    After all a sharebroker isnt required to buy shares. Keys familiy trust could sell shares to John Key and vice versa

  22. Jeeves 22

    Billy,
    The problem with your analysis is that the purpose for which the shares were held is jusdged objectively. If the Trust (or whoever holds them – but the hard evidence says the Trust) regularly trades in shares then no matter what anyones SAYS they were bought for, for tax purposes they will be considered to have been bought for trading.

    However, IRD would base ownership of shares on documentary evidence, not what Fran Mold says, so the Trust should be entitled to a deduction.

  23. ghostwhowalks 23

    Jeeves you are wrong, the share register is the only listing of who owns what.

  24. Billy 24

    Who owns the shares is irrelevant. They will be treated the same.

    Jeeves, I accept that it is judged objectively but, if they were acquired for one purpose and had to be sold shortly thereafter because it was politically inappropritate to hold them I would have thought that’s be the end of it.

  25. vidiot 25

    ghost – have another look at the share contracts again.

    The name on the UBS account for all of them (well the ones supplied) is JP & BI Key Family Trust with an address of c/- Ross & Whitney (John Key’s Lawyers – see: Yellow Pages).

    At the bottom of the 1st contract, you will see that the Registration lists the names of the THREE trustees of that trust being: John Phillip Key, Bronagh Irene Key and Kenneth Grey Whitney

    The same details are on all of the contracts.

    Unless these UBS documents are all forged and are part of a greater conspiracy, it’s a Dodo issue.

  26. ghostwhowalks 26

    The Keys probably have shares bought and sold by the Family trust as ‘investors’ , ie they dont buy and then sell them in a short time.

    However the active trading of shares , where you pay tax on profits and claim losses would probably be done under Keys own name . This may be why the share register shows him as the registered owner.

    He wouldnt be the first person to mix up his own accounts and the family trusts that he ultimately controls

  27. Jeeves 27

    ghostwhowalks: No. If a Trust holds a share certificate showing they own a share, then the registry listing can’t change the legal owner. Second, there is clearly a contract for the purchase of the shares by the Trust. The company may have incorrectly entered the owner on the register. That’s not John Key’s fault.

    Second, I understand the media is reporting that Dr Cullen has provided the registry listing, but we haven’t seen that. We have seen the contracts for the shares, which show that the Trust bought them.

    Third, Billy you would intuitively assume that, but once something is revenue accout property it doesn’t matter why you sell it. The purpose is assessed at the time of acquisition. Your point may be that if John Key himself only owned one parcel of shares, they may not have had the character of revenue account property, in which case you’re right, the explanation that he HAD to sell them would probably mean that the IRD wouldn’t on that basis alone accuse him of buying for the purpose of resale.

    Fourth, why are seemingly rational people like ourselves even entertaining this silly argument?

  28. Jeeves 28

    oh right, ghostwhowalks, now in order to justify your conspiracy theory you’re reconstructing Key’s personal finances on your intuition? Good one.

  29. ghostwhowalks 29

    vidiot , you would be easy to be tricked by a claim ‘ never mind the quality feel the width’.

    AS any who has bought shares can show , the broker was acting under the account of the Keys trust but the owner of the shares may be some one different.

    Reading the ‘contract ‘ the FIN number will identify whos name the share register will put the shares in.
    And this info is crucially not on this ‘contract’
    If you buy and sell shares you would know all this

  30. ghostwhowalks 30

    jeeves dont be silly.
    The documents provided by the share brokers is only to do a trade.

    Its in plain sight , they state

    DETACH THIS PORTION AND RETURN AFTER COMPLETING THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS…
    ie provide the actual owners deatils.
    We dont ( they are hiding this as Slippery doesnt want them to release it) tell who ended up as the registered owner.

    I dont own any shares but I have applied for shares in my name and then onsold ( without a broker) to a family member, who paid upfront anyway.

  31. Jeeves 31

    ghost: i’m not saying the contract defines who owns the shares, i’m saying the share certificate does -not what’s entered on the register (but all things going to plan the certificate and the register should match).

    Nevertheless, if only John Key’s name was put on the share certificate (which we don’t know), that would be an error on the part of the Company registrar seeing as we know that the broker bought them in the name of the Trust. You can’t think John Key is respondible because the Registrar messed up? Maybe you can… I can’t.

    Buyt, are you now accusing the Trust of onselling the shares to Key in his own right? This would be an ingenious accusation in order to keep this issue alive, but i’m afraid interest in this issue has died with John Key’s free and frank apology (aside from on this blog and probably in parties like NZ First, the Greens and some parts of Labour who think share owenership is morally wrong).

  32. ghostwhowalks 32

    Well Key has said he failed to be open about all he knew over how many shares were bought so dont expect him to tell more than he has to over the discrepancy over what the register says and what a trade a broker executed says.

    I cant be another case of ‘didnt read the email’ to cover his earlier denials.

    The only way to explain why Key seems to be the owner of the only share transaction that was a relatively quick buy and sell and crucially made a profit.
    The Key family trust doing this sort of thing could jeopodise its tax status as an ‘investor’ while Key himself is most likely a share trader for tax purposes .

    But anyway, no need to rush all the information that labour holds on this out this week, let him swing slowly in the wind every week until the election

  33. “djp
    apparently he made a loss.. which would make this post bunk (unless of course someone is trying a deliberate smear, but im sure steve is above that)”

    Over all the shares he may well have made a loss. How ever he has used his position of power to end up with a smaller loss, Which is exactly the same as using it to make a profit.

  34. andretti 34

    At the risk of incriminating myself,dont you guys have a real job.
    this whole tread is a complete waste of carbon

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