From the Guardian

CP Scott died in 1932 and was followed only four months later by Edward, so sole ownership fell to JR Scott. Faced with the potential of crippling death duties and the predatory interest of competitors, Scott contemplated a radical move to ensure the future of both the Guardian and the highly profitable Manchester Evening News.

He created the Scott Trust which still owns the newspaper.

Yup, the ownership structure of the Guardian is deliberately and specifically designed so as not to have to pay death duties (what we now call inheritance tax).


12 thoughts on “From the Guardian”

  1. Equally, if I gave everything I owned to charity, then my heirs wouldn’t have to pay IHT.

    There’s no hypocrisy in the Grauniad campaigning against people setting up arrangements that dodge IHT *while allowing their heirs to benefit from the assets in question*. If it started saying that family charitable foundations should be taxed, then it’d be on dodgy ground.

    Tim adds: “while allowing their heirs to benefit from the assets in question” quite… the family chairmanship of the Trust that lasted into the 70s was purely an appointment made upon merit?

  2. Dunno, mate. How many hundred million quid does Northcliffe Media get every year for carrying the same adverts in local newspapers?

  3. A search of google for ‘non-job’ comes up with a report written by my old friend Peter Cuthbertson, a senior fellow at the TaxPayers Alliance. Is that what you meant?

  4. A very large and important company, the Schott Glass Works, was designated to operate as a foundation with humanitarian aims, in particular those which could be addressed through research into and production of special glass products. The original guys were the “names” in glass/optics: Schott, Abbe, and Zeiss. Originally an ordinary company, they reorganized to their present form when Zeiss died. I don’t know enough about their operation to describe the tax status or just what is done with various income; they’re probably in at least a dozen countries and have at least a couple plants in the U.S., one of which is concerned almost exclusively with solar-cell research and production.

  5. John B, there is plenty of hypocrisy. The Groan was set up as part of a tax avoidance process. Nothing wrong with that of course but the Guardian, with its columnists such as Richard Murphy, endlessly rails against people not paying their full whack of tax. The idea that the Guardian newspaper has much to do with charity is frankly laughable.

  6. No there isn’t, because the Grauniad doesn’t rail against people avoiding tax by donating their money to good causes, it rails against people avoiding tax for their own personal benefit. And while you might not view the Grauniad as a good cause, I imagine that it does.

    On the ‘family members sitting as trustees’ point, yeah, OK, partial gotcha – but again, I don’t think the G is objecting to Bill and Mel Gates sitting on the board of their foundation, even though it’s also not paying tax on its income.

    (and even if you are right-wing, you *should* view the Guardian as a good cause – while its editorial line is obviously somewhat biased, it’s the only UK newspaper which hasn’t been entirely dumbed down and reduced to PR churnalism by cost-cutting corporate owners. The only mass publications that actually do reporting in the UK are the Grauniad, Private Eye, the Economist, and the Daily Mail. Everyone else can’t afford to…)

  7. “And while you might not view the Grauniad as a good cause, I imagine that it does.”

    No doubt. No doubt the people who set up the trust think the sun shines out of every orifice, I am sure.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    Can someone remind me what happened over allegations they moved some of their transactions overseas which had the effect of minimising stamp duty or something?

    Did someone get sued? Or to put it another way, can I go over to their website and ask them nicely if this is the sort of piracy that George Monbiot says we should not be doing?

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