Rebus launches Icebreaker settlement scheme

by Calum Fuller

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10 Jul 2014

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CLASS ACTION SERVICES firm Rebus has launched a service specifically aimed at recouping losses for investors who were mis-sold the Icebreaker tax avoidance scheme.

Rebus Icebreaker Settlement Entity (RISE) has been launched, Rebus claims, "in response to the lack of communications from Icebreaker", and will act as a "collective voice" for investors, "all of whom have been left with little to no representation". It will assist investors in agreeing any outstanding tax liabilities, arrange a time period for settlement and take appropriate action against those who may have mis-sold the investment originally.

Icebreaker Management created the Icebreaker tax avoidance scheme, which was used by thousands of investors, including Take That stars Gary Barlow (pictured), Howard Donald and Mark Owen, to ring-fence more than £300m on the premise of saving £135m in tax.

A typical Icebreaker LLP included between 12 and 20 investors, with gross LLP capital of between £5m and £10m. Unlike a typical investment, in order to qualify for tax relief investors were expected to contribute to the partnership by playing an active role in the LLP's commercial activities for a minimum of ten hours per week.

Investors augmented tax relief by taking out offshore loans prepared by Icebreaker. As a result, an investment of £40,000 in the company and a loan of £160,000 from it, would generate about £77,520 in tax reliefs the government had intended would support those in creative industries.
Rebus supports investors who have been mis-sold or mis-advised on Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS) and works on their behalf to help claim back losses incurred through poor investment advice.

Rebus director Rhys Thomas said: "What Icebreaker has made investors endure is completely unacceptable. The court decision in May of this year saw all tax reliefs claimed, denied, leaving investors facing tax liabilities from previous years, together with interest and possible penalties. This means life-changing liabilities for most people.

"From the possibilities of mis-selling, right the way through to refusing to communicate with investors, investors have essentially been left in the dark, by Icebreaker, and completely abandoned at a time when they need reassurance the most. These investors wish to end the uncertainty over the eventual outcome of litigation and its open ended cost, and instead, reach an agreement with HMRC.

"Unfortunately for investors, the clock is already ticking. Tax demands may begin arriving later this year and they will then need to bring a claim within a set deadline. By utilising channels we have opened with HMRC and bringing together groups of investors in similar circumstances, we can help them to arrive at the best possible position for each member of RISE - collective action is stronger action."

Icebreaker Management declined to comment.

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