Tax dodging is 'morally wrong' says David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron today branded the tax arrangement of comedian Jimmy Carr 'morally wrong'.
It emerged that Carr is one of thousands using a legal off-shore scheme to pay as little as 1 per cent income tax.
The revelation led one Cabinet minister to call multi-millionaires who use tax avoidance schemes to pay low income tax the 'moral equivalent of benefit cheats'.
Philip Green is a multi-billionaire businessman, who runs some of the biggest names on British high streets. His retail empire includes brands such as Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss Selfridge and British Home Stores.
Philip Green is not a non-dom. He lives in the UK. He works in the UK. He pays tax on his salary in the UK. All seems to be in order. Until you realise that Philip Green does not actually own any of the Arcadia group that he spends every day running. Instead, it is in the name of his wife who has not done a single day’s work for the company. Mrs Green lives in Monaco, where she pays not a penny of income tax.
In 2005 Philip Green awarded himself £1.2bn, the biggest paycheck in British corporate history. But this dividend payout was channeled through a network of offshore accounts, via tax havens in Jersey and eventually to Green’s wife’s Monaco bank account. The dodge saved Green, and cost the tax payer, close to £300m. This tax arrangement remains in place. Any time it takes his fancy, Green can pay himself huge sums of money without having to pay any tax.
Taxman let Vodafone off £6bn bill
In what was described as an 'unbelievable cave-in', the HMRC's permanent secretary for tax allowed the phone giant to avoid paying vast amounts of tax on profits racked up by a subsidiary based in a tax haven.
The saga began a decade ago when Vodafone bought German engineering firm Mannesmann for 180bn euros.
Wanting to route the purchase through an offshore company to avoid paying UK taxes, it set up a subsidiary in Luxemburg where profits would be taxed at less than 1%.
But it was ruled that the deal broke anti-tax avoidance rules.
Nevertheless, Mr Hartnett took the Vodafone case away from his team of lawyers and gave it to another negotiating team, which said the phone company could get away with paying a lump sum of £800,000 and a further £450,000 over five years.
HMRC also agreed that the firm would no longer have to pay tax on its Luxembourg subsidiary's profits. The deal is understood to include some other tax avoidance ruses by Vodafone.
An HMRC spokesman said: 'Our legal obligation to maintain customer confidentiality means we are unable to offer comment on the tax affairs of named individuals or organisations.'
Downing Street: No imminent plans to disclose David Cameron's tax details
David Cameron and senior ministers are not planning to disclose their tax returns in the “very near future”, Downing Street indicated today.
The Prime Minister said in April that he expected information about his finances to become public, and was relaxed about the prospect.
Carr apologises for 'error of judgement' as PM is accused of hypocrisy over tax comments
Under fire comedian Jimmy Carr today issued an apology for what he called a 'terrible error of judgement' as the row over his tax evasion embroiled the Prime Minister in a hypocrisy row.
The PM himself was accused of hypocrisy today after he declined to criticise Take That singer and Conservative supporter Gary Barlow, who has been accused of using a complex scheme to avoid paying millions.