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Stars come out – only to be slapped with tax avoidance bill

More proof that no one is safe from Chancellor George Osborne’s tender ministrations when it comes to tax avoidance: some major stars are under investigation.

A slew of celebrities have been informed just recently that they’re going to be out of pocket in a major way in the wake of an impending investigation by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. The taxman has decided to delve into investment schemes run by a firm called Ingenious Media on the grounds that the company’s ‘tax efficient’ investments into the film industry might be closer to tax avoidance, and the A-list clientele of Ingenious Media – luminaries like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, and Andrew Lloyd Webber –  has been informed that they’re in the crosshairs.

Adding insult to injury is that the actgual investigation won’t start until November, but anyone involved in the potential tax avoidance needs to pony up any funds that might not have been paid well in advance. Chancellor Osborne’s latest regulatory changes make such a bizarre transaction possible – essentially you’re now responsible for the cash you might (or might not) have neglected to pay through a tax avoidance scheme well in advance of the resolution of the investigation. I suppose this makes it easier to collect from well-off individuals or firms, but this new rule creates massive problems for lower-income Brits like contractors or the self-employed; unlike David Beckham, most freelance workers don’t have shedloads of cash to just throw at a problem like this.

It’s just one more example about how HMRC and George Osborne might not be thinking quite clearly about anyone who pays less than the higher tax bracket. Brits who don’t earn millions of pounds in revenue per quarter – or even per year for that measure – douldn’t possibly have the capital to pay a tax avoidance fee in advance in an event that they’re called on the carpet. This whole scheme has the potential to ruin many small businesses that might be hanging on by a shoestring. Still, I don’t feel much remorse for these stars and celebrities though. If only there was some way to satisfy George Osborne’s avarice whilst still safeguarding the tenuous financial health of people who actually matter here in the UK. I have fears that it will always be just one or the other.

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