Kent, UK – June 09th 2014 – Last month, UK singer-songwriter and record producer Gary Barlow, along with two other members and the manager of pop mega group “Take That” came under fire for tax avoidance, as they ploughed millions into a bogus investment scheme called “Icebreaker” as a means of deferring income that should have been declared and taxed.
Icebreaker was used by around 1000 people to hide over £300million from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Otrganisers of the scheme claimed to invest in activities related to the music industry which under normal circumstances would be permitted legitimate tax breaks. However, a judge deemed it to be a tax avoidance arrangement that nobody in their right mind would invest in, and expect to make a profit.
Gary Barlow sang before the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, and the same year was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to charity. Barlow has understandably received much criticism, and many believe he should hand back the OBE. Mr Barlow owns properties worth about £20 million, which is the same amount the Take That band members are estimated to owe the taxman between them.
While tax avoidance is not illegal, it is usually deemed as immoral, especially when it comes to a man of Barlow’s standing, who is often seen heading charity events and was thought of by many as a stand-up guy.
Although there is no doubt that Gary Barlow was following the advice of his accountants, he did so conscientiously, knowing that his actions would lead to millions of pounds not reaching the tax coffers.
Yesterday, commenting on the situation, a spokesman for reputable accountants in London firm Dyer-Co in Kent said “Accountants are professionals. People across the UK, and indeed the world employ because we have studied to have knowledge to help individuals manage their money in the best way possible”.
He went on to say “It is one thing to advise clients about legitimate tax breaks they are entitled to, and to take the steps necessary to procure these breaks on their behalf, but it is quite another to advise a client to enter a scheme that can only be described at best as ethically and morally wrong. This case is more disturbing because Gary Barlow has dedicated a large part of his career to soliciting people, who in many cases do not have much money themselves, to donate to charity. At the same time he was denying the British public funds that could be used to buy equipment urgently needed for children’s hospitals, facilities for the infirm and elderly, and funds that are desperately needed for the education system”.
Dyer-Co believe everybody can learn something from Gary Barlow’s shameful blunder. “Before employing an accountant, make sure the firm as an outstanding reputation. A good accountant will save you large amounts of money in many ways – but they will not do this by recommending you put money into shifty tax avoidance schemes. Perhaps Gary should now change the band’s name to “Don’t Take That”, and once that is done, look for a new accountancy firm.”
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