HMRC has secured a tribunal win against John Myers for using a tax avoidance scheme.
The former GMG Radio executive used the scheme to try and claim back millions of pounds of tax he paid whilst at GMG in 2005/2006. But after investigation by HMRC, it appeared he owed £2.4m instead of being owed £2.77m. This is now being challenged.
The report on This is Money says he ‘used an avoidance scheme to try to dodge a £2.4million tax bill’ resulting from the £6.3million he was paid by GMG in 2005-6. He tried to reduce his tax bill by claiming he had paid £6 million for shares in an offshore company.
Speaking to RadioToday, the ex Radio Academy Chair said: “This issue relates back to 2005/6 while I was working for GMG Plc.
“The headline suggestion that I was ‘dodging a tax bill’ is incorrect as I have always paid my taxes in full – each and every year – under PAYE. This important fact was somehow omitted from the story. As this ruling is currently subject to a review, I can’t comment further at this time.”
HMRC says “We note that this means that despite having an income from employment of over £6.3m, Mr Myers was attempting by participating in the scheme to avoid paying any more in income tax for the year than some £130,000, an effective tax rate of about 2%. We say nothing about the morality of such behaviour, a matter that is irrelevant to the issues we have to decide.”
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said: “The overwhelming majority of people pay the taxes they owe. These latest cases show that HMRC will effectively tackle those who try to get around their legal responsibilities. Users of avoidance schemes should think twice before trying to abuse tax reliefs to avoid paying their fair share of tax.”
The scheme, promoted by NT Advisors, sought to create artificial losses by using a combination of the employment income and capital gains tax rules on share options. The judges dismissed the appeal without needing to hear substantive arguments from HMRC, and indicated that written reasons would follow. There were 420 users of this scheme.