It’s the story that’s got the entire nation’s knickers in a twist: celebrities – those bastards again – paying so little tax as to be barely paying any tax at all. Using all manner of tricksy accounting loopholes, Jimmy Carr and three-fourths of Take That have managed to keep hold of nearly all their lovely loot, while the rest of us have our paycheques held down and roughly bummed by HMRC on a monthly basis.
(We don’t fully understand how Carr and Take That managed it, but we think it goes something like this: you exchange all your cash for Colombian pesos, then use invisible ink to write yourself an enormous cheque every 20 minutes, via a Dutch bank account registered to Santa Claus’s House, The North Pole. Pretty simple when you know how!)
Celebs avoiding their fair share of taxes (whether by legal or illegal means) is nothing new, however. Here are five of the biggest tax-dodging scamps in all of show-business...
When U2 took to the stage to headline Glastonbury Festival last year, it wasn’t only whoops, cheers and woo-yeahs that greeted them – a section of the crowd were there to protest U2’s ‘interesting’ accountancy methods, which involve them basing their operations in the Netherlands, where royalties on music incur virtually no tax. Highlight of the protest: a 20ft inflatable banner that read “U pay tax 2?” ’Ave that, Boner!
Wondering why you haven’t seen Wesley Snipes in many movies lately? (You probably haven’t been wondering that at all, but for the sake of keeping things moving, let’s just pretend that you have.) Well, it’s because the gravel-voiced Blade star is currently serving a three-stretch in a Pennsylvania prison for filing tax returns that had a strong whiff of bullshit about them – he’ll be out on July 19, 2013.
If anyone’s still keeping score in the long-running Nas vs. Jay-Z beef, we’d have to say that Jay-Z is on top right now: Jay-Z is headlining the Main Stage at Hackney Weekend 2012 tomorrow, while Nas is on the 1Xtra Stage; Jay-Z is married to Beyonce, while Nas suffered a nasty divorce from Kelis in 2009; and Jay-Z reportedly banked $37million last year, while Nas is currently being pursued by the IRS for $6million in unpaid back-taxes. 99 problems…
Nas: Made You Look (at your tax return)
Telly presenter/Lily Allen’s bezzie mate Miquita was forced to file for bankruptcy last November, after HMRC whacked her with a bill for £174,000 in unpaid taxes. £174,000?! We had no idea that being perma-sarcastic about pop videos was so lucrative – we’re clearly in the wrong business…
The unstoppable, ten-legged, bum-fluffed pop phenomenon have ‘done a U2’ and set up their own overseas company – with themselves as directors – in order to save themselves a shit-ton of tax: as much as £220,000 for every £1million they earn, according to The Sun. That’s means a whole lot more loot to spend on deep V-neck T-shirts and sideways haircuts.