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David Gower slams ‘immoral’ HMRC in film tax row

Former England cricket star attacks HM Revenue & Customs for its handling of £700 million dispute over film investment scheme.

David Gower slams ‘immoral’ HMRC in film tax row

David Gower has launched a fierce attack on the tax man following the latest round in the legal battle over a film investment scheme.

The former England cricket captain and TV star was among sports stars, celebrities and politicians who put thousands of pounds into a film investment scheme operated by Ingenious Media.

The Ingenious Film Partners 2 LLP scheme attracted around 1,400 stars, including Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney, alongside former footballer stars David Beckham and Gary Lineker. TV double act Ant and Dec and ex-Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman were also among its backers. 

The investors each paid a minimum of £100,000 into the scheme, which offered tax breaks in return for helping fund box office hits. Life of Pi, Avatar and Girl With a Pearl Earring, were among the blockbuster films Ingenious helped bring to the big screen.

Last week the Upper Tribunal confirmed that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) was right to deny the stars a tax break, after an original ruling last August that these schemes were used to avoid tax.

Gower, who was advised to go into the scheme by a financial adviser, told the Daily Mail.  ‘People were accusing the innocent investors of trying to evade responsibilities. That is completely untrue.'

He added: ‘Innocent investors went in on advice and if anyone has been immoral and unfair it’s HMRC. They completely f***** up the way they did it.’

A number of stars are said to be facing the threat of bankruptcy after being hit with steep retrospective tax bills.

Louise Brittain, a bankruptcy specialist at chartered accountants Wilkins Kennedy told the Daily Mail she had taken dozens of calls from worried investors.

‘A lot are quite well known and wealthy but the tax debt is so massive they wouldn’t be able to pay it,’ Brittain said.  

However, Gower indicated he is not among them. ‘I won’t go bankrupt. A lot of people went in much more strongly than I did.’

Ingenious hits back 

Meanwhile Ingenious has hit out at what it called ‘biased’ media reporting of last week’s ruling. 

Reports suggested Ingenious had failed to overturn the ruling last week, which had left investors facing a £700 million tax bill. However, the firm stressed the latest development was a ruling to clarify the original August 2016 decision, not a failure to overturn the original ruling. 

'The decision of the First Tier Tax Tribunal was a clarification on how it is to be implemented rather than a decision on an appeal,' the partnership said.

It also confirmed it intends to appeal to the Upper Tribunal and is ‘confident of victory’. 

Ingenious chief executive Neil Forster said: ‘The Tribunal’s clarification of a technical matter has been presented in the media in a wholly-biased manner which misrepresents the facts and misleads the reader.’

10 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Tony Peterson

Jun 06, 2017 at 15:21

Gower moaned to the Mail? You couldn't make it up.

Doesn't he know it is owned by a "Frenchman" born in Hammersmith, who lives here, and owns vast swathes of the British countyside, and it is edited by a guy who claims thousands in EU grants to make his Scottish tourist resort profitable?

Why doesn't Gower just sue his IFA for lousy advice. C'mon HMRC. Toss him another yorker;

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Jun 06, 2017 at 16:32

So when the IFA said "I have a cunning plan" they all walked the this scheme with their eyes closed. Nothing was explained to them and the risks were deemed worth taking.

Not a great deal of weeping from the common herd then.

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Jun 06, 2017 at 17:23

He should try the scheme i'm in. Every month my earnings come with all stoppages already deducted. Just one form to fill in every year.

And, I only pay the same rate as the most of common herd, (to coin a phrase).

But I cannot blame him for being duped into paying little or no tax, after all, he must be barely able to get by on his income.

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Michael Stevens

Jun 06, 2017 at 17:25

Well done HMRC. Better inform the Labour and LibDems MPs and the General Public the offenders were Sportsmen and well known Actors.

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Rickenbacker Al

Jun 06, 2017 at 17:53

I don't get this.

There was a time when there was a clear distinction between tax avoidance, which is - or, at least, was - legal, and tax evasion, which was illegal, and it was pretty clear which category an investment fell into. All of us who have ISAs 'avoid' tax, don't we, and I didn't think it made us criminals?

Has that changed? Because unless it has, I don't understand why '... these schemes were used to avoid tax' is considered to be such a sin, nor do I get why it should take a retrospective court ruling to decide whether an investment like this involves a tax break, or doesn't?

Or am I just underestimating the over-complexity of our ridiculous tax system? I'm not taking sides for or against those rich enough to contemplate schemes like this, but it all just seems a bit puzzling to me?

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Jun 06, 2017 at 19:10

By a distance the most amusing comment I've read on an investment board.

Top shot, Tony Peterson!

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Tony Peterson

Jun 06, 2017 at 20:17

Gee, thanks, dyche2, but I wasn't really trying to be amusing. I was nurturing a sense of outrage.

Just as I feel when I read posts informed by the paper that is owned by a couple of (officially) Monagesque twins (non- dom millionaires of course) who make the lives of some inhabitants of smaller Channel islands a complete misery.

Or the Perjuror in Chief. I saw and heard Rupert Murdoch declare on oath at the Levenson inquiry that he never interfered in his papers; political stories. Within two days John Major reported that Murdoch had mid 90's, told him he had to change his policy on Europe or the Murdoch press would support Blair instead of him. And that sleazy creep is now crawling around trying to persuade Ofcom that he is a fit and proper person to take over all of Sky. Why isn't he in the slammer?

And is you really want a good laugh look at how many of you let Dirty Des tell you what to think.

It is going to be an interesting week. Some utterly vilified politicians are able to explain themselves without being filtered through the hatred of the non taxpaying superrich.

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Cheshire Man

Jun 07, 2017 at 22:00

Well said, Mr Peterson.

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ian andrew

Jun 10, 2017 at 12:07

Yes, a brilliant comment Tony.

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ian andrew

Jun 10, 2017 at 12:09

wups ! I forgot Gleaner's comment. Very good

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