UK Uncut owe Sir Philip an apology

Here:

Today presenter Evan Davis said: ‘We need to clear up something from earlier this week … We said that Sir Philip Green had cut his tax bill in the UK by hundreds of millions of pounds by transferring ownership of Arcadia … to his wife. We’re happy to make it clear that Arcadia was bought by Lady Green in 2002, and because she has not lived in the UK for 15 years no tax was due in this country on any dividends that were paid to her. We apologise for suggesting otherwise.’

24 comments on “UK Uncut owe Sir Philip an apology

  1. What arseholes the BBC are. Still, at least they backed down: was it under threat of legal action I wonder?

  2. One could always have fun blaming Feminism: if couples were still taxed as couples, such stunts might be harder to pull off.

  3. The BBC shouldn’t have apologised.. anyone who says the Green’s aren’t engaging in tax evasion are the ones who are being disingenuous.. yes, we know evasion is legal and I don’t blame those who engage in it since they’re simply using incentives/loopholes placed in the law by legislators..

    So, if people believe it’s desirable to remove these incentives/loopholes.. well they should lobby those who put them there in the first place.. the politicians..

  4. @KJ, I think you need to apologise. Tax evasion is illegal. Tax avoidance is legal.

    What the Greens have been doing is tax mitigation. Using the laws as they were designed to be used. Wives are no longer the property of the husband and are entitled to have their tax affairs handled seperately. Lady Green was a succesful business women before she met Philip. So to imply that she got purely because she is his wife and has nothing to do with her skills and business acumen means that you are being very misogynistic.

  5. KJ,
    What sort of moron would not organise their tax affairs for maximum efficiency? It is utterly ridiculous to imply that a couple should organise their tax affairs so as to pay the maximum tax and that if they don’t they are some how morally reprehensible. I pay six figure taxes every year and as far as I’m concerned that makes me someone the rest of society should thank, not villify because I try to minimise my total tax burden. I am heartily sick of the way that some view the hard work and enterprise of others as a milch cow. I remarked to my wife quite recently how bizarre it is that the successful have become pariahs more so than murderers, rapists and even politicians and used cae salesman, we’re right down there with the paedophiles.

    PS Not paying taxes where you don’t live is hardly a loophole.

  6. Bravo! DocBud, and thank you for paying so much tax.
    May I wish your accountant ever more success next year. It is high time Leviathan went on a diet.

  7. Sorry, I confused the sides of the prison wall there..
    I did say I don’t blame the Green’s or indeed anyone else who uses these let’s call them incentives.. I just think the idea that their living arrangements and ownership of Aracadia etc aren’t related to avoiding tax or minimising tax as you say is at best naive.. before the Greens moved to Monte Carlo, Tina’s business involvement was small-scale.. in fact, 9 months after the couple’s move, when Philip Green spearheaded the takeover of what remained of the Sears empire, his wife still played no public part at all..

  8. KJ, so if I drive at 70 on a stretch of the road where UK law says it is legal to drive at 70, but Richard Murphy says that the speed limit should be 60, that makes me a criminal?

    If something is legal, it’s legal. Anything else is Murphy’s sour grapes or delusion.

  9. Interesting; Sir Philip’s Wikipedia page says that he bought Arcadia and sold it to Lady Green 24 hours later.

    But when you follow the link to the cited source, it was another company (Shoe Express) that he did that with.

    Bid documents quoted show that it was always known that Arcadia was bought by a Jersey company controlled by Lady Green; it was never owned by Sir Philip.

    So did the BBC just print the allegations without checking them, or does their well-funded research go no further than looking on Wikipedia?

  10. S-R, I pay no heed to Murphy, the man’s an idiot as the author of this blog has illustrated on countless occasions..

    I was responding to previous comments aimed in my direction..

  11. What’s this 15 year rule? Is that how long it takes before HMRC no longer consider a person to be domiciled / liable for tax in the UK? Seems like an awfully long time.

  12. Anyone who gives credibility to anything written in Wikipedia without cross checking from a different source is a fool.

  13. I have no problem whatsoever with the Greens’ tax arrangements. But let’s not pretend that Lady Green is the primary and presiding genius behind their success. Commonsense and anecdotal evidence tell us that Philip Green is a businessman of extraordinary talent, and is apparently the driving force of their various business involvements, and obviously so in operational terms. To suggest otherwise would be misanthropic.

  14. Andrew M (#12), 15 years isn’t a rule. It’s just how long she has lived outside the UK, and it’s a long time, so she’s very probably non-resident.

    There are no fixed rules in residency; Mr Gaines-Cooper was lived outside the UK for longer than 15 years yet was still found to be resident. But Lady Green was born outside the UK so it’s easier.

    Actually reports say that she moved out of the UK in 1998, so it’s 14 years, but that doesn’t make much difference to her tax residency.

  15. I’ve been non-resident for decades, and have never come across a 15 year rule.

    As I’m sure the guvnor will confirm, UK tax liability is based on residence (unlike the US, which bases it on citizenship). Domicile isn’t an issue unless you die. Non-residents only pay UK tax on UK-derived income from property or employment.

    There are UK rules on residence and ordinary residence (days visiting the UK, etc) that HMRC diligently polices both in spirit and letter, and I think we can safely assume Lady G observes them.

    Thus, as a resident of Monaco, she pays her taxes there, such as they are, and is not liable for UK tax.

    I would like to have been a fly on the wall during Lord G’s call on this matter to whoever currently runs the BBC.

  16. The vast wealth of the Greens is derived from dividend income, which in turn is generated from capital investment. Mrs Green does not need to do any work to generate dividend income. Mr Green puts in effort, for which he receives a salary in the UK, on which UK is paid. Where is there any tax avoidance ?

    Dividends paid to non -residents by UK companies are not subject to UK tax. Does Mrs Green genuinely live in Monaco? Yes.

    The only basis on which this situation could be attacked seems to be if Mrs Green was just pretending to own the shares which were beneficially owned by Mr Green. If that was the case then surely it would be tax fraud, ie evasion, which would be a criminal case. Does anybody have any grounds to claim that the share ownership is a sham? I don’t think so.

    I don’t think this is potentially tax avoidance at all. It seems to be either tax evasion (with no evidence whatsoever) or nothing at all (which seems the likeliest scenario).

  17. Amusing to see how some people will tie themselves in knots in order to defend the indefensible. A billionaire who refuses to pay his dues.

    #Slow handclap#

  18. Why should Philip Green be owed an apology? The only error the BBC is correcting is that they said Green had transferred ownership of Arcadia to his wife, while in fact Arcadia was bought by her company in the first place.

    No one is suggesting (are they?) that Tina Green made any major contribution to the accumulation of her company’s remarkable wealth. Philip Green has built up assets in his wife’s name purely as a tax avoidance device. No one is suggesting that’s illegal, but if many people thinks it’s immoral its proper for the BBC to give them the facts.

    Oh, and if one needs a large tax bill of one’s own to qualify to comment on this: I’ve got one.

  19. Of cours he has built up the assets of the company he works for. That has nothing to do with who owns the shares and therefore gets dividend income when dividend is issued.

    He receives a wage. He pays tax on said wage as required by UK tax law. She receives income from dividend, she pays taxes required on said dividend – as applied by her state of residence. Not UK.
    Yet people seem to want her to transfer her shares to him for him to pay UK tax – or for her to retain her shares and for him to be treated as owning them. Neither of which is based on reality.

  20. to defend the indefensible. A billionaire who refuses to pay his dues.

    I think you’ll find he is, defensibly, a billionaire who pays exactly what he is due. Not what a bunch of trots think he should be paying.

  21. Yet the HIGNFY lawyers seem not to have caught up with the fact that they need to edit some of Ian Hislop’s more cutting comments about Sir Philip a little more carefully. Don’t folks in BBC Legal talk WTO each other?

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