By Lyndsey Hall
Gary Barlow could be in danger of losing his OBE, according to the Guardian, after a partnership that he and his fellow Take That band members invested in was deemed to be a tax avoidance scheme.
The pop star and X Factor judge could be asked to pay millions of pounds in tax as a result of the ruling by Judge Colin Bishopp, after investing at least £26 million along with bandmates Howard Donald and Mark Owen, and manager Jonathan Wild in a scheme run by Icebreaker Management, back in 2012. Fifty one partnerships managed by the company were found to be tax avoidance schemes masquerading as “music-industry investment schemes”.
Tax avoidance is not always illegal, it is even encouraged by the Revenue to pay as little tax as you are legally expected to, for example by saving money into an ISA, a tax free individual savings account. However, tax evasion is very much illegal, and sometimes the line is incredibly fine. Even though Barlow and his bandmates were convinced that the scheme was legit, and insist that they paid “significant tax”, the arrangement was discovered to be a deliberate attempt to cheat the taxman and therefore all those who had profited from the scheme are considered guilty parties.
Several prominent MPs have now spoken out about Barlow’s abuse of the tax system, suggesting that he should voluntarily hand back his OBE as an act of contrition. David Cameron, however, has rejected the suggestion, insisting that it is not necessary as Barlow has “done a huge amount for the country”, citing his work for charitable causes as the reason for receiving his honour, and suggesting that repaying the money owed would be penance enough.
For more on this case and the rules about tax avoidance, check out the BBC’s article Tax Avoidance: What are the Rules?
Do you think Gary Barlow should lose his OBE over these allegations? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments.
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