They’re at it again. George Osborne this time, whinging on about the iniquities of large corporations. He is going to unveil his plans in his December mini-budget. How dare corporations take inept tax laws at face value and divert profits offshore to avoid corporation tax. He is going to stop the likes of Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Facebook and Starbucks indulging in the so-called `Double Irish` ploy.
Fine words. But it’s going to need a Hercules to clean out this particular Augean stables of all the horse shit that is the UK’s labyrinthine tax laws … a root and branch clean up is necessary. For like the man says, “if you want to go there, I wouldn’t start from here”.
Fine words Mr Osborne, but they sound hollow.
The UK government has in place some very generous tax relief schemes for genuine business investment in British creative industries, with the intention of helping the country’s film, television and video production companies to compete globally.
The HMRC however claim that the system is being abused. Judge Colin Bishopp has agreed with them. A company called Icebreaker, made up of a number of different partner companies, put money into schemes that generated losses of £336million, and so could claim huge tax relief. The tax tribunal ruled Icebreaker was set up as a deliberate attempt to avoid paying tax.
Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen from the pop group Take That – along with manager Jonathan Wild – were among about 1,000 people who put money into the scheme. They will now become liable for the tax.
In the Flight of the Golden Geese both David Lesperance and I are adamant that all investments in such schemes are folly. They will all be outlawed sooner or later, laying investors open to huge repayments, and possibly even fines or worse … jail time. We make it quite clear, the only safe way of minimizing tax liability is to pay up all tax owing and fly the coop to more welcoming climes.