Star Katie says ‘I was clueless over tax scheme’

Singer Katie Melua has described herself as “clueless and inexperienced” after being caught up in a tax scheme being challenged by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The star is one of a string of celebrities named as being caught up in the Liberty tax strategy, which will be challenged by HMRC in court next year. According to a report in The Times on 9 July, 1,600 people attempted to shelter £1.2 billion through the scheme.

Writing on her website, Ms Melua said: “When I was in my early twenties I trusted financial experts and advisors to guide me with how I invested money. That I was fairly clueless and inexperienced when it came to finance goes without saying and, I’m embarrassed to admit, not as interested in it as I should have been.”

She said that from memory, the scheme was presented to her in 2008 as an “‘investment scheme’ that had the potential to legally reduce yearly income tax. Totally legal and legit and my accountants and advisors would take care to complete the formalities which included dealing with HMRC.

“HMRC did later query it, and I paid the full amount of tax years ago. My tax records are completely up to date and I don’t owe HMRC any money.”

With the government and HMRC intent on closing the UK tax gap – the difference between tax owed and tax collected – high profile celebrities are not the only people likely to be caught up in tax investigations and the potentially serious consequences that can accompany them.

With this in mind, any taxpayer concerned about their own tax affairs, and who believes they might become subject to a tax investigation, would be wise to seek expert advice.

Our specialists at Taxation-Investigation, including ex-HMRC professionals, can provide specialist advice to clarify their situation and on the options available to them, so they can make informed decisions about the best way forward. We can also assist in mitigating outcomes or presenting a robust defence where tax affairs are in order.

For more information on our tax investigation services, please contact us.