A list of files dubbed ‘The Jersey Files’, containing names of thousands of celebrities who are allegedly involved in a tax avoidance scheme has been revealed by the HMRC.
The list contains about 33, 000 name,s some of whom are high-flying professionals including former judges and bosses of financial institutions as well as celebrities who have been accused of dodging hefty tax bills on their huge earnings by using off shore tax havens.
In a crackdown by the government body which has seen celebrities like Gary Barlow get into troubled waters with the HMRC, many more including actor Michael Caine, David Beckham, Mel Gibson and designer Oswald Boateng are now being targeted in an effort to claw back some of the money back into the public coffers.
New powers assigned to the tax man means they can now demand that individuals pay back the money upfront, even if they are already challenging the HMRC’s decision in court.
Anyone who receives the letter of notification will be asked to pay the money within 90 days and will only get it back if the court rules in their favour.
Some of the schemes involves investing money in ventures, for instance film making, that look like they’ve made loses, and then offsetting those loses against other earnings by the investor, bringing down overall earnings and tax bills considerably.
The new laws, hailed as a game changer by a HMRC spokesperson will come into effect in the next few weeks.