David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard face bills over suspected tax avoidance scheme
The sportsmen are two of a string of stars involved in an investment scheme under investigation
Ingenious Media, a firm offering tax efficient film investment schemes, has written to 1,300 past and present investors to warn them that a Revenue & Customs crackdown in tax avoidance schemes may “adversely affect investors”.
A tribunal on the issue will start in November, but new rules introduced by Chancellor George Osborne will force anyone who has invested into potential tax avoidance schemes to pay upfront before a hearing takes place and the companies are challenged in court.
The bills start at tens of thousands ranging to millions and will be issued to up to 33,000 people. Investors will be refunded only if the suspected company wins its case in court.
High-profile names to have invested in Ingenious also include Anne Robinson, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ant and Dec and Universal music chief executive Lucian Grainge.
Beckham’s publicist, Simon Oliviera, denied that the retired footballer had ever avoided tax.
"We don’t discuss the private financial matters of our clients, however as we have said on many occasions the Beckhams have always paid their taxes in full and have never been involved in aggressive tax avoidance schemes," he told The Independent. "They have also been long-time supporters of the creative industries and made a number of successful investments over the years."
Spokespeople for Robinson, Gerrard, Rooney, Ant and Dec could not be reached.
Lloyd Webber's representative declined to comment.
Ingenious Media operates around partnerships that invest in leading Hollywood film such as Life of Pi and Avatar, the Times reports. Investors were able to claim tax relief through initial money spent by the respective partnership on the film rights.
Ingenious has described the due payments as "fundamentally unjust".
"Ingenious is proud of its record in financing hit films, including Avatar, Life of Pi and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which have generated more than £1billion of taxable revenue for the UK Treasury," the company said in a statement.
The HM Revenue & Customs doesn't "comment on individual cases", but a spokesperson said:
"We are always happy to help the increasing numbers who want to disentangle themselves from the increasingly fruitless practice of tax avoidance.
"As we revealed last week a £1billion reinvestment in HMRC has delivered an £18billion return from tackling non compliance."
Ingenious isn't the only alleged tax avoidance scheme to hit headlines today: another firm called Liberty has been similarly accused, a company invested in by Sir Michael Caine and George Michael.
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