Jimmy Carr apologises for dodging tax.
Words: Caroline Foran
There's been lots of talk in the media recently over Jimmy Carr's alleged tax dodging. Well actually it's not alleged; it's absolutely true. This morning, the man himself took to Twitter to make a serious apology, one devoid entirely of the wry tone usually associated with the comedian.
Earlier in the week it was revealed that Carr was using an offshore scheme that could cut his income tax to just one per cent. Outed by The Times - on the front page no less - we learned that the popular comedian was squirreling a staggering 3.3 million Pound per year into what's known as the K2 Scheme. Speaking with Roy lyness, director of Peak Performance Accountants, The Times accidentally stumbled upon Carr's tax avoidance. "How much is the highest amount you think we've got going through this solution?" said The Times interviewer, "£3.3 million. That's actually a well-known comedian... He's got his own company, it's making about £4-£4.5 million. He pays himself £100,000 salary and puts through £3.3 million," said Iyness.
How did he manage that so? This is how it worked: All the money Carr earned from his TV apperances, DVDs, tours - the lot - were going into a Jersey-based company that "lends" him the money back. But, y'see, there's no tax where loans are concerned and believe it or not this isn't actually illegal. Confronted with an offer he took no issue with accepting, Carr had found himself a handy way of avoiding enormous tax bills.
On the back of this Carr was then accused of being a hypocrit as not long ago he himself targeted Barclays for their own alleged tax scams. Performing on his 10 O'Clock Live show (Channel 4) he said "Why don't you apply for the Barclays' one per cent tax scam? You will need the world's biggest, most aggrsesive team of blood-hungry amoral tax lawyers. If you meet the criteria, you'll pay one per cent tax, like Barclays do."
Funny that, how life imitates art.
Following this, in an interview with ITV News, the British prime minister, David Cameron made the following statement about Carr's arrangement:
"Some of these schemes we have seen are quite frankly morally wrong... Comedian Jimmy Carr Jimmy Carr is said to be one of more than 1,000 people using the K2 scheme... People work hard, they pay their taxes, they save up to go to one of his shows. They buy the tickets. He is taking the money from those tickets and he, as far as I can see, is putting all of that into some very dodgy tax avoiding schemes."
What's more interesting though, is the stance Labour leader Ed Miliband took upon hearing Cameron's "morally wrong" comments:
"I'm not in favour of tax avoidance obviously, but I don't think it is for politicians to lecture people about morality... I think what the politicians need to do is - if the wrong thing is happening - change the law to prevent that tax avoidance happening and I think that is the right course the Government should take... Instead they are taking the wrong course which, as I say, is cutting taxes for millionaires."
Then this morning, in his attempt to nip this firmly in the bud, Jimmy Carr opted for an 'honesty is the best policy' approach with the following apology:
@jimmycarr: "I appreciate as a comedian, people will expect me to 'make light' of this situation, but I'm not going to in this statement as this is obviously a serious matter. I met with a financial advisor and he said to me "Do you want to pay less tax? It's totally legal." I said "Yes." I now realise I've made a terrible error of judgement. Although I've been advised the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal, and has been fully disclosed to HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs), I'm no longer involved in it and will in future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly. Apologies to everyone. Jimmy Carr."
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Thursday 21st June 2012 | Comedy
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