We are working with a group of high-profile celebrities, offering advice in a claim against their tax advisers. This is a very important and significant case relating to tax avoidance. It could have a big impact on both the tax advisers and the wider public (despite the fact that the case is currently being handled confidentially).
An entertainment agency and a group of celebrities hired a firm of specialist tax advisers to provide tax planning advice between 2009 and 2016. The advice they were given was to use a Growth Securities Ownership Plan, which was a tax avoidance scheme. The tax advisers recommended this as the most tax-efficient way forward, and the celebrities, who had placed their trust in the firm, relied entirely on this advice.
However, after following this advice and taking part in the tax avoidance scheme, the group were served with notices from HMRC to pay around £7m in back tax.
We are bringing a professional negligence claim for around £7m against the tax advisers for failing to advise on the risk of an HMRC enquiry and failing to consider lower-risk options (which would have saved tax for the celebrities in a legal and legitimate way).
This was the first tax avoidance scheme of its type set up by these tax advisers, so this is the first case to be brought against them. The decision in this case could open the floodgates or more, similar celebrity tax avoidance scheme claims in the future.