COMEDIAN Jimmy Carr said he made “a terrible error of judgement” in using a legal offshore tax scheme to reduce his payments to HMRC.
“I appreciate as a comedian, people will expect me to ‘make light’ of this situation, but I’m not going to in this statement,” Carr said on Twitter. “Although I’ve been advised the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal, and has been fully disclosed to HMRC, I’m no longer involved in it and will in future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly. Apologies to everyone.”
Carr, who recently poked fun at Barclays for its tax avoidance measures, is one of several high profile personalities to make use of such a Jersey-based scheme known as K2, according to an investigation by the Times.
His apology came after Prime Minister David Cameron branded aggressive tax avoidance schemes “morally wrong” during an interview.
And Treasury minister David Gauke yesterday said wealthy taxpayers such as Carr should consider their moral stance as well as legal requirements.
“It is the type of contrived, artificial arrangement that is frankly pushing it a bit when you think that most people are paying tax ... at 32 per cent or 42 per cent,” he told Sky News, as he promised tougher action to close tax loopholes.
Carr’s mea culpa was “obviously welcome”, said a Number 10 spokesperson, adding that HMRC is working to investigate and close down aggressive avoidance schemes.
HMRC has recently come under fire for its settlements of large tax disputes with companies. Last week the National Audit Office said it was “not appropriate to set up governance arrangements specific to certain cases”.