Celebrity investors told to prepare for tax crackdown

HUNDREDS of investors including business leaders, sports stars and entertainers have been told to prepare for a £520m tax bill as HMRC cracks down on the use of alleged tax avoidance schemes.

Ingenious Media, an investment company, issued a warning to 1,300 investors, including sports stars such as David Beckham (pictured), that they could be forced to pay back all the tax they saved, possibly with interest, by using its alleged tax avoidance scheme, the Financial Times reports.

The investors are caught up in a crackdown that will see those in tax avoidance schemes forced to pay their bills up front while HMRC investigates their arrangements.

Ingenious told its investors: “We have done everything we can to lobby for changes to the accelerated payment proposals as the Bill has progressed through Parliament, but without success.”

Ingenious Media, which has financed box-office hits such as Avatar, has previously denied that its film and game partnerships are tax avoidance schemes, saying they are legitimate businesses that have generated more than £1bn of taxable revenue.

The firm is set to fight a court battle with HMRC over whether it is a tax avoidance scheme in a tribunal scheduled for November. Ingenious has criticised HMRC for repeatedly using “stalling tactics” that have delayed the hearing.

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