Business Secretary Vince Cable has been fined £500 by the HM Revenue & Customs for failing to pay up to £25,000 in VAT.
Cable was hit with the £500 fine after failing to register income from media and book deals that were liable for VAT and did not pay the duty on it.
HMRC rules state that if a person’s turnover of VAT-liable goods and services over a 12-month period exceeds the current threshold of £73,000, they must register for the duty within 30 days.
Cable’s aides told The Sun newspaper that the error was spotted by his personal accountants in January while his tax return for the previous financial year was being finalised. The accountants notified HMRC officials and apologised, before offering to pay any due tax.
The former deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats was billed for a figure of “less than £15,000” after a rebate on his charity donations was taken into account.
Cable was fined half of the normal £1,000 penalty after he sent a cheque to the Revenue by mid-February to make up for the shortfall.
Cable has been one of the leading political figures calling for a clampdown on tax evaders in the UK in the past couple of years.
A spokeswoman for Cable says: “All Vince’s tax affairs are above board, and he went out of his way to settle this quickly – in fact HMRC let him off 50 per cent of the usual penalty.”