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Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson has been named as one of several wealthy individuals involved in the complex tax avoidance scheme Icebreaker.

The Welsh-born BBC Sport presenter was one of over 20 members of a partnership called Sparkdale LLP that was involved in the scheme.

Other participants of Sparkdale included a number of high-net-worth individuals, including dentists and law firm partners.

Following the announcement, Mr Jackson has been unavailable for comment.

Sparkdale invested in Icebreaker which has since been ruled a set up to avoid tax.

Icebreaker helped exploit tax reliefs that were originally designed to provide support to the music industry.

But in his decision, tribunal judge Colin Bishopp ruled that Icebreaker “is, and was known and understood by all concerned to be, a tax avoidance scheme”.

Sparkdale claimed losses of over £9 million from its investment in Icebreaker.

Members of the partnerships could have used these losses to offset their tax liabilities, but now HMRC is expected to demand repayment of these reliefs.

Although tax avoidance is usually legal, it can easily turn into tax evasion.

And tax evasion – a purposeful method of cheating the taxman – is certainly a criminal offence.

This leads to the inventible question: what is the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance?

Look out for KinsellaTax’s soon to be released white paper on the differences between tax avoidance and evasion, which discusses each issue in depth.

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