Just for the convenience of any MPs who don’t understand the system I thought I’d produce a quick guide to how expenses are claimed.
The under £250 rule: If the expense is under £250 no receipts are required and you can put in as many of these claims as you like provided you claim they are necessary to your work. For example you can “employ a cleaner” on £241 a month, every month, and no-one will ever check the paperwork.
The second home rule: Whichever of your houses is the largest and most expensive must be designated as your “second” home – all the costs of running it, including mortgage payments, are then claimable.
Moving house: Whenever you move into a new house you can claim the costs of installing new kitchens, bathrooms and full redecoration. When you sell the house you can pocket the increase in value from all these improvements. Remember: you can move house as often as you like, four times a year if you want.
The grace and favour home: If your government job comes with a central London government home, usually with staff and a nice wine cellar, this is free to you, and tax-free as well – it doesn’t count as a benefit-in-kind like it would if someone else let you use their house.
Over-charging: Say you’ve got a large regular bill like your council tax, bung in an expenses claim and you’ll get paid regularly. If that bill then goes down by 50%, for example because you tell the council the property is empty, just keep pocketing the difference.
And most important: make sure you’ve used all your annual allowance by the 5th of April each year, and then start again on the 6th.