A top British comedian has had his tax dealings condemned by the prime minister. David Cameron said that the alleged use of tax avoidance schemes by Jimmy Carr was ‘dodgy’ and ‘completely wrong’.
Jimmy Carr has been criticised for avoiding traditional levels of tax by using legal Jersey based tax avoidance schemes, which allow him to pay only 1%. Gary Barlow has also been criticised.
David Cameron spoke out from Mexico, at the G20 summit saying: ‘I think some of these schemes – and I think particularly of the Jimmy Carr scheme – I have had time to read about and I just think this is completely wrong.’
‘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.’ ‘That is wrong. There is nothing wrong with people planning their tax affairs to invest in their pension and plan for their retirement – that sort of tax management is fine.’ ‘It is not fair on hard working people who do the right thing and pay their taxes to see these sorts of scams taking place.’
Jimmy Carr is reported to put away £3.3million per year via the K2 tax avoidance scheme. The scheme is used by over 1000 people, who together avoid paying a massive £168million in income tax.
The comedian spoke out about the accusations during a show in Tunbridge Wells last night, saying: ‘I pay what I have to and not a penny more.’
It has been revealed by cabinet minister Danny Alexander that tax officials are looking into the scheme to see if they can shut it down or get their money back in some other way. He said: ‘At a time of real economic difficulty for our country, it is vitally important that everyone pays their fair share of tax’.
‘People who dodge the tax system are the moral equivalent of benefit cheats and we are coming to get them. We are taking steps wherever we can to ensure that everyone pays their fair share.’
In an ironic twist, HMRC are also looking into the affairs of politicians who are using companies as a way to pay less tax.