NEWS: Take That could take another two years to pay back £20m in tax

Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald were ordered to pay back the money following a tribunal ruling last May.

Take That have not yet repaid the £20 million in tax after an illegal tax shelter scheme was discovered last year.

But it has emerged that the remaining members of the successful pop act could delay returning the cash for another two years.

A judge ruled that the band had exploited legal loopholes by putting millions into the Icebreaker scheme.

Investors had claimed the scheme was designed to boost the UK’s creative industries by providing tax reliefs in order to fund music, but this was overruled by judge Colin Bishopp.

Now despite saying they are keen to pay up, the remaining members of Take That may only pay what they owe once five other parties resolve their disputes in the £340million scheme appeal.

Barlow appeared to issue an apology about the tax controversy in September last year, writing on Twitter: “I want to apologise to anyone who was offended by the tax stories earlier this year.”

Former Take That members Jason Orange and Robbie Williams were not involved in the tax shelter scheme.

Shortly after the news about the band’s tax avoidance broke in 2014, Jason Orange left the group.

Comment

Literally every tax avoidance scheme set up is doomed to fail, regardless of how “bomb-proof” they seem when promoted by flashy firms who are happy to “take a percentage of the amount of money invested into the scheme or tax saved”. The QC’s and legal advisers they have on “tap” are useless when HMRC catch on to the scheme which they will always do considering each avoidance scheme must be registered with them in the first place.

Buying into dreams invariably leads to nightmares and the only benefit goes to those who charge fees for conjuring, marketing and managing such illusions. Fortunately legislation is changing to also punish the magicians, witches and wizards who promote such schemes.

In this case however one thing strikes me as odd. From 17 July 2014, individuals and businesses involved in tax avoidance schemes have to pay HMRC the disputed amount of tax upfront while the dispute is resolved. This new power, called ‘Accelerated Payments,’ came into force as part of the Finance Act 2014. Accelerated Payments removes the cash-flow advantage that those who deliberately try to bend the tax rules by avoiding tax currently have over the majority of taxpayers who pay their tax up front.

Apparently, should you be a member of a well-known boy/aging band you will not only be exempt from your obligation to pay your tax up front but also be given an additional two years to repay. Why is this so when we see the ordinary taxpayer being dealt with harshly over much lesser (non-tax avoidance related) sums?

Another unfortunate side effect of this case is that we may be subjected to yet another batch of morose and brain numbingly torturous music as what is left of Take That release a new album (plus tour and merchandise) to fund their repayment plan!

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