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Singer says she’s clueless about tax avoidance schemes

Singer Katie Melua has come forward to say she had no idea what she was getting herself into when financial planners recommended a tax avoidance scheme to her.

The Liberty tax scheme, which was recently ear-marked by the Government as coming under intense scrutiny and investigation for alleged tax avoidance, has been used by more than a few celebrities and luminaries; Melua is in the same boat as performers such as Michael Caine and George Michael – and under new rules they have to pony up the cash they sank into the Liberty scheme at the inception of the investigation. The scheme – which may have laundered a billion pounds over the past few years, was presented as a completely legitimate and legal way to handle her financial affairs.

Sadly for Melua – who had even been nominated for the Tax Superhero award from Christian Aid back in 2010 – it looks like this is certainly not the case whatsoever. In her defence, the singer says that in 2008 when she invested in the scheme she was both inexperienced and completely clueless. Meanwhile she sank some £850,000 into the tax planning measure. To her credit Melua was glad to learn that the scheme has been exposed for what it is, and I can’t fault her for being open and honest with the press on both her inexperience and how much she feels like she’s been victimised as well.

Don’t get me wrong – this doesn’t mean that I think she should be given a full and complete pardon. That quarter of a million pounds she put into the Liberty scheme needs to be taxed properly. Let’s be honest, shall we? HMRC wouldn’t let anyone get away with running up a massive tax bill just because they’ve got a nice voice and they issue a heartfelt apology. Do you think they would let all these poor contractors and freelancers off the hook for IR35 if they just said they were sorry? Not bloody likely.

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