Footballers and TV stars lose latest round in £700m battle with the taxman

Oliver Gill
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Tokyo Premiere Of 'Die Hard 4'
Tax losses were used to fund a number of blockbuster movies including Die Hard 4 (Source: Getty)

A raft of celebrities including footballers, TV stars and musicians have lost a £700m court battle with the taxman over a controversial tax avoidance scheme.

The scheme tried to use tax losses arising from limited liability partnership investments in a range of blockbuster movies, including Avatar and Die Hard 4.

Read more: Taxman rejects Tyrie claims of tough tax avoidance tactics

In details released this week, tribunal Judge Charles Hellier ruled on 17 May the losses were not “allowable deductions”. The decision upholds a similar ruling in August 2016.

The ruling means the taxman has safeguarded £420m of taxpayers money, with interest payable on top taking the total cost to £700m.

City sources said it was likely scheme participants would challenge the latest tribunal decision.

It is understood those benefitting from the scheme were given the opportunity to pay tax due instead of challenging HMRC further. Such a tax bill would have been significantly smaller than the court ruling amount.

Read more: Please sir, I want some more: Taxman wins £26m in landmark movie ruling

A spokesperson for HMRC said: “We are pleased that the tribunal has agreed with us that the vast majority of what was claimed in tax relief by Ingenious investors was simply not due.

“Anyone who anticipates problems paying their tax bill should contact HMRC, who may be able to offer extra time to pay based on individual circumstances. HMRC has an outstanding record for supporting those facing genuine difficulty.”

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