Last Thursday, Take That and X-Factor star Gary Barlow conducted a Twitter Q&A. Everything started well, but the event quickly turned into havoc when users interrogated him about his tax arrangements.
The event was arranged specifically for Barlow to promote the launch of his new album and upcoming New Year’s Eve show at Westminster Hall.
But, due to all Twitter users being able to ask him questions, Barlow was soon grilled about the tax avoidance scheme he was revealed to be involved in back in 2012.
The Times revealed that three members of Take That – Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald – and their manager Jonathan Wild were among 1,000 wealthy people who contributed £480 million to 62 music industry partnerships that HMRC believed to be tax shelters.
The band members are said to have paid £26m into a scheme – Icebreaker 2 – that HMRC is attempting to shut down.
Take That’s representatives have maintained that the musicians had no intention of avoiding tax, and believed that this was a legitimate investment opportunity.
Barlow chose to ignore the tax-related questions, several of which mentioned his ‘hypocrisy’ at pleading for people to donate money on this year’s BBC Children In Need telethon.
#AskGaryBarlow Is the charity work you do for Children in Need tax deductable?
— Macca (@The_Paris_Angel) November 21, 2013
There were other tax related questions fired at Barlow, ranging from his knowledge of the current income tax rate to playing monopoly.
#askGaryBarlow what is the current rate of income tax a) 20% b) 40% c) less than 5%
— David (@weydin) November 22, 2013
#askGaryBarlow when you play monopoly do you freak out and start to get a bit sweaty when you land on the income tax space?
— Becky (@becksthfc) November 21, 2013
One user even asked if Barlow could recommend him an accountant because he was sick of paying the legally required tax rate.
#askGaryBarlow Hey, Gaaaaaareh Baaaaaarlow, can you recommend an accountant? I’m paying the legally required tax rate and it has to stop
— James (@JamesJ10) November 21, 2013
Despite his ‘avoidance’ attempts, it was the tax questions that were the most popular – they attracted the highest number of retweets causing the #askGaryBarlow hashtag to trend.
What can we say, Gary? Some people ‘Never Forget’.
Tax Avoidance is the legal structuring of tax affairs to reduce tax liabilities; but HMRC are clamping down on the practice, which reduces the national purse by millions each year.
If you have used or are using a tax avoidance scheme you should contact one of KinsellaTax’s tax investigation experts today.