Ritchie is “accountants” now is he?

Financial advisers who helped figures such as Chris Moyles, the former BBC DJ, in attempts to avoid tax should face criminal charges, ministers have been warned.

Accountants called for the introduction of new laws to criminalise firms involved in complex tax avoidance schemes.

Their intervention followed the disclosure that Moyles, 40, claimed to be a second-hand car dealer in a failed attempt to avoid paying tax on £1 million. The former Radio 1 presenter had his “highly artificial” bid to escape an estimated £400,000 income tax bill rejected by a tribunal on Friday.

On Saturday Richard Murray of Tax Research LLP said Moyles would suffer “considerable embarrassment” as a result of his involvement in the scheme “and so he should”.

But he added: “The truth is that it is the advisers who are most at fault here. A now notorious firm of advisers created these schemes and others sold them.

“Moyles was foolish but these advisers knowingly created and sold tax risk with the intention of undermining the tax revenues of the UK. I believe that this should be a crime.”

One retired accountant from Wandsworth is now “accountants” is he?

And I’ll bet this hurt:

Richard Murray of Tax Research LLP

But after all that, look at what Ritchie is actually trying to argue. That it should be a crime to aid someone in obeying the law of this country. and who wants to live in that Curajus State?

15 thoughts on “Ritchie is “accountants” now is he?”

  1. How is seeking to avoid a considerable amounts of due income tax for your client (if you earn £1m as a BBC presenter you should “expect” to pay about £450,000 in tax) through an entirely fictitious second-hand car scam be “obeying the law of the country” ?

  2. Is he suggesting that ‘undermining the tax revenues of the UK’ should be a crime? If so where does that leave the entire charity sector, the anti smoking and drinking campaign etc etc?

  3. No Tim, these people are a menace. I once read an accountant/tax advisor writing in a national newspaper of how you could set up your nanny/domestic help with a wholly artificial personal services company to save you some tax even though they are clearly your employee.
    This advisor faces no embarrassment because he’s shameless. However, he is guilty of ‘creating risk’, for a low-paid domestic worker ( a non-person in his mind but not mine). He shouldn’t be charged, he should be shipped off to slavery.

  4. @Shinsei1987, Advising clients about the intricacies of one of the most complex tax systems in the world is a perfectly legal practise. Advising them about loopholes that have been made available by such a complex tax system is obeying the law of the land. It is not a criminal act. Now the state might not like the fact that it has created the loopholes and will do all it can to close them. It does this with the DOTAS. So HMRC failed in the first instance to close it down, which pretty much gave the green light to the tax advisers. Only some time later did HMRC realise that the scheme wasn’t “right” and close the loophole and do the usual thing that a state can do – change the rules/law after the fact.

    Can I remind you that income tax is not “due”. Just because you earn £1m doesn’t mean that you automatically have to give £450,000 of it to the state. The state has created rules to allow you to pay less tax. You take advantage of them depending on your personal circumstances.

    Blame the state for creating complex tax rules with Byzantine loopholes, not those taking advantage of what the state hasn’t made illegal.

  5. the headlines are celebrities avoiding tax, and pictures of hodge talking about morality. In reality it looks like a scheme, registered and then struck out by HMRC. The celebrities get to pay the tax (and probably interest and penalties). No law broken. No tax lost. I guess the reality would not sell newsprint!

    I suppose it is interesting how easy fools are parted from the money – and not too strange that lots of celebrities turn out to be fools,

  6. SadButMadLad

    That’s why I specifically put “expected” in inverted commas.

    Clearly there are all manner of reasons why earning £1m doesn’t lead directly to a tax bill of £450k. And ways of legitimately lowering tax levels, through pension fund payments for instance.

    However the point is that excluding any significant issues Moyles must have realised that reducing his 450k tax iability to near zero was probably going to involve some dodgy dealing. Otherwise “everyone” would be doing this and clearly, seeing as the state raises plenty of income tax from the rich & self-employed, everyone isn’t doing it.

    And no one has a problem with tax advisers advising on the intricacies of the tax system. However creating a wholly fictitious second hand car business purely to generate £1m in fictitious tax losses for your client isn’t “advising” on the tax system.

    How is this different from the Citizens Advice Bureau “advising” someone perfectly healthy to pretend to have a serious disability so as to receive Disability Living Allowance ?

  7. Thought we were living in the era of Robin Hood taxes.

    These people seem to have had the green tunic & the hat. What’s not to like? They weren’t based in Nottinghamshire?

  8. “How is this different from the Citizens Advice Bureau “advising” someone perfectly healthy to pretend to have a serious disability so as to receive Disability Living Allowance?”

    It would be more like someone from the CAB advising that if the test was to call you in and see if you walked with a genuinely painful limp, that you could put a pebble in your shoe before doing the test. The limp and the pain are genuine, just not permanent, and therefore your condition meets the letter of the law.

    There is of course a moral dimension to it as well, and views may differ in the comparative morality of taking charity intended for crippled orphan Tiny Tim’s, and not wanting to pay bloated wasteful bureaucracies and corrupt politicians half of your wages simply because you’re rich and the envious Left therefore hate you. (Or more practically, figure that’s where the most loot is to be found.)

    For those who believe in the intrinsic goodness of the State, the legal and moral obligations coincide, and they sometimes get them confused, as if there was no distinction.

    We live in a Parliamentary democracy, and if the politicians we elected decide you must pay, then you have to pay. You can’t pick and choose which laws you like and which ones you’re going to ignore. It’s neither legal nor moral to resist. But that doesn’t mean that the taxes being charged are moral, and as some have said previously on this topic, it’s hard to know which side here is the least deserving of our sympathy. The taxman does far more damage, but he does so with our democratic consent.

  9. The point about all these stupid schemes is that they are mostly self-defeating and the client comes unstuck.

    If clients voted with their feet and left such “advisors’ then the problem sorts itself out. I’ve never set up or recommended anything as daft as the used car scheme and never would.

    @ Noel Scoper, good point, I’ve been saying that for years.

  10. The whinging lefties won’t shut up about how “the rich” pay no tax. So it is reasonable that a slightly dim high income earner believes a professional advisor who says that he can sort him out with paying no tax. The narrative becomes something close to, bar the court case, reality.

  11. Shinsei1967

    May I suggest you’ve put the question back to front. Nobody need show that they are obeying the laws of the land; the State or its agencies or individual complainants need to show you a DISOBEYING the law of the land.

    To be honest though – and I refer you back to yesterday’s post – the point at which an artificial step becomes so contrived as to be fraudulent is an interesting question.

    I think we can all agree though that an cheap snake oil salesman from Norfolk who employs double standards isn’t fit to opine on that question.

  12. Given that the definitions of “evasion” and “avoidance” are “illegal” and “legal” respectively, it would be impossible to eradicate “avoidance” in UK law.

    The Big Dick argues that legal things should be made illegal if he doesn’t like them. But that still leaves legal things, which can be termed “avoidance”, so they, too can be frowned upon eventually.

    Really, all he and Hodge want is to be the ultimate arbiters by whimsy. Starbucks should pay 100% corporation tax based on their turnover; Stemcor should pay 0.0001%.

  13. It looks to me like a conspiracy to defraud the revenue, so it can and should be tackled under existing law. Moyles may lack the necessary intellect for the “mens rea” but the self-styled “tax experts” presumably do not.

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