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Hiding from the Taxman: Major Personalities with Tax Woes
Unfair would be an understatement if you think about how the rich gets to pay fewer taxes, while middle-class earners go broke once taxes have been deducted from their income. But the truth is, the rich have the means to avoid paying taxes – some of which are quite dodgy.
A recent report that revealed that HSBC helped celebrities and politicians succeed in tax evasion is a fine example.
Only the rich is eligible to open a Swiss bank account, after all. This gives them the upper hand where a game of tax dodge is concerned. Unfair? Absolutely. These wealthy individuals should be ashamed of themselves. But some personalities think they are too popular to pay taxes.
Not even the greatest footballer of all time is safe from the taxman. In late 2014, Lionel Messi was accused of not declaring a salary he made from image rights in shell companies in Uruguay and Belize. Since non-payment would mean imprisonment, Messi made the settlement and paid â‚¬5m. Even after this, authorities still want him to stand trial. Whether part of anti-Catalan conspiracy or not, the continued harassment on the footballer regarding his taxes is seen to be the very reason that Messi will leave Spain and the Barcelona club.
Former footballer and host of Match of the Day, Gary Lineker, is one of the many personalities being hit with a tax evasion allegation. According to reports, the football legend has been given a 90-day deadline by HM Revenue and Customs to pay in cash tax bills that are tied to a £1.3m funds that were invested in Ingenious Media Partners, a film investment that is an alleged tax-break scheme.
Danny Murphy shares a similar fate with Gary Lineker, as he is one of the investors in a film investment scheme, Ingenious Media Partners. In the suspected tax avoidance scheme, the Match of the Day pundit is said to be facing a £2.5 million tax bill. Although continuing investigations showed that Danny Murphy had no idea the investment fund was a tax dodge scheme, he could still end up paying the fines, which is not exactly cheap.
This only shows one of the negative sides of being a celebrity. With professionals taking care of his money, there was really no need for Murphy to look into some of the investments he made. This privilege turned out to be a nightmare, however, since he claims he has always paid his taxes in full, but the people handling his money probably knows better.
Awarded with an OBE by the Queen herself, you would think Gary Barlow leads a squeaky clean and impressive life. And he probably does. But, like everyone else, he hates taxes just as much. Although he paid some of it, he used a tax avoidance scheme to dodge some of his obligations – £20 million of tax bill to be exact.
Barlow, along with other members of Take That, invested £66 million into two partnerships set up by Icebreaker Management. What is supposed to be a system of commercial investments turned out to be a tax avoidance scheme, as ruled by a judge. This allowed them to hide £63 million from the taxman.
Further investigations led to other names of celebrities and wealthy people who used the same scheme to avoid paying taxes. Around 1,000 other personalities invested in Icebreaker and sheltered almost £340 million.