• Posted

The members of a famous band engaged well-known accountants to provide tax planning advice between 2013 and 2016. The advice received was to use an Employee Shareholder Scheme (ESS) to extract all the c. £70 million profit from the company, meaning that the band members (who were also directors and shareholders) would not have to pay any tax on it.

However, after following this advice, the band members were served with a GAAR (General Anti-Abuse Rule) Notice from HMRC. It concluded that any tax advantage should be subject to counteraction, resulting in the members having to pay HMRC c. £23 million in back tax.

We are bringing a c. £13 million professional negligence claim against the tax advisers, for failing to advise on the risk of an HMRC enquiry nor consider lower risk options which would have legitimately saved tax. This was the first tax avoidance scheme of its type set up by these tax advisers, and the decision in this case could open the flood gates for claims against them for setting up celebrity tax avoidance schemes. The outcome is therefore very important to both the tax advisers and the wider public.