Comedian Jimmy Carr has admitted he made a "terrible error of judgement" over his tax arrangements.
Jimmy Carr did not break the law, but he exemplifies the feeling that the rich live by different rules than the rest of us.
The Government has re-stated it will crack down on the shady world of tax avoidance. Laws to do so may now be fast-tracked.
UK promoters will be made to hand over customer databases under the proposals, allowing HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to formally warn clients directly about the deals they have signed up to and to work out how much tax they owe if the scheme fails.
Under the reforms, which will go out to consultation, a promoter who has been penalised for not abiding by the rules will also have to provide extra information to HMRC on all of their schemes, not just the one they were reprimanded for.
Treasury Minister David Gauke will tell the Policy Exchange:
– Treasury Minister David Gauke
We are building on the work we have already done to make life difficult for those who artificially and aggressively reduce their tax bill.
These schemes damage our ability to fund public services and provide support to those who need it. They harm businesses by distorting competition. They damage public confidence.
And they undermine the actions of the vast majority of taxpayers, who pay more in tax as a consequence of others enjoying a free ride.
Promoters of aggressive tax avoidance schemes will be forced to disclose their client lists to inspectors under a new crackdown, the Government will announce today.
Think tank scheme operators will be "named and shamed" for sharp practice, Treasury Minister David Gauke will tell the Policy Exchange.
It follows a wave of revelations about the financial loopholes used by the rich and famous to legally side-step hefty tax bills.
Last month comedian Jimmy Carr admitted to making a "terrible error of judgment" after it emerged he was using a scheme to pay an income tax rate as low as 1%.
The publicist for comedian Jimmy Carr has told PRWeek that he has been advising Carr on how to handle the tax avoidance affair. The Corporation chairman Gary Farrow spoke of the decision to issue an apology:
You’ve got to deal with it and take it on the chin. We’re working around it. It’s going to plateau out - he hasn’t taken drugs and he hasn’t been caught with a hooker. He hasn’t broken the law.
Labour leader Ed Miliband told ITV1's Daybreak today that "we need to change the law" surrounding legal tax avoidance.
Mr Miliband said that the Prime Minister was in "hot water" after he criticised comedian Jimmy Carr for tax avoidance.
Tax expert Richard Murphy from Tax Research UK has told Daybreak that "there's no excuse" for tax avoidance and that celebrities who have been using schemes to do so "made a choice to cheat".
Comedian Jimmy Carr faced merciless teasing from his 8 Out Of 10 Cats team-mates after dominating the headlines this week over his tax affairs.
During tonight's recording, team captain Sean Lock waded in by telling Carr: "We all like to put a bit of money away for a rainy day, don't we? But I think you're more prepared than Noah."
And broadcaster Georgie Thompson chipped in: "On the plus side, at least you've been in a top 5 list of something."
8 Out Of 10 Cats is on Channel 4 at 10pm tomorrow.
The Prime Minister has a bit of a track record of saying what he thinks in interviews, which is refreshing but occasionally lands him in trouble. I suspect there were some of his advirors who were thinking "oh no" as he made those comments about the comedian Jimmy Carr.
Certainly talking about morality, as opposed to legality, always opens a can of worms.
It also didn't look great when he refused to be drawn on the tax arrangements of his friend Gary Barlow, regardless of whether or not they are similar to those of Jimmy Carr.
We are likely to get months and months more of these kinds of accusations flying around about Mr Cameron's friends and colleagues and their various tax arrangements.
The anti-austerity campaign group UK Uncut has said that individuals and corporations who it claims are avoiding paying tax are "clearly acting immorally" and urged the Government to clamp down on the practice:
– UK Uncut statement
The government must make Vodafone, Phillip Green, Amazon, Google, Barclays, Goldman Sachs- and all the other mega-rich individuals and corporations raking in massive profits- pay their fair share in tax. They must invest the money they raise in our public services, stop the cuts, and protect our jobs, pensions, welfare and other public sector goods and services. And they must do it now.
Lord Digby Jones, Former Minister for Trade and Investment, has said that the Prime Minister's comments about Jimmy Carr's tax arrangements may "come back to bite him".
He said that there are many "comfortable" but not "wealthy" people in the UK who avoid moderate amounts of tax, but should not be demonised.
Footballers, he says, are fair game:
Richard Murphy, an accountant who writes the blog Tax Research UK, has said that the Government needs to use its common sense and root out people whose tax bill does not match their earnings. Commenting on Jimmy Carr's tax arrangement (which he has vowed to change) he said:
– Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK
There is a mismatch between economic reality andthe way [income] is being taxed. When that happens the Revenue should be ableto say: we are going to ignore all the artificial [tax avoiding] steps and instead tax theincome ... Whenever you put a rule in place the accountants find a way to break the rules. What we have to say is: rules are not good enough. We need a principle that lets us say (tax avoidance) is wrong.