How to keep your money 'out of the Chancellor's grubby mits': Government expert resigns after being secretly filmed giving tax avoidance advice


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The Independent Online

A government tax adviser has stepped down from his post after he was secretly filmed offering tips on how to keep money “out of the Chancellor's grubby mits”, according to reports.

David Heaton, a member of a panel advising HM Revenue and Customs on tackling tax avoidance, had spoken at a London conference, "101 ideas for personal tax planning," according to the Financial Times.

He was filmed speaking as part of a probe led by BBC Panorama and Private Eye.

Two months after the June conference, Mr Heaton began working on the HMRC panel as an advisor on artificial and aggressive tax avoidance.

He resigned after he was recorded by BBC's Panorama programme outlining the advantages of planning tax, where he reportedly outlined ways to keep the money from George Osborne's "grubby mitts".

He was also filmed describing a maternity scheme he called the Bump Plan, according to the BBC.

Mr Heaton allegedly said: "Ninety per cent of what you pay out ends up with the employee. You can't really knock that one."

He explained that by deliberately timing bonuses to enable an increased rebate on maternity pay, the tax paid on the bonus would effectively fall from 41.8 per cent to just 8.4 per cent, the BBC said.

Mr Osborne was reportedly informed of the comments, which will be broadcast by the BBC on Monday, before flying to a meeting of European finance ministers in Lithuania.

Mr Heaton denied doing anything wrong, however his resignation was announced on Friday, the BBC said.

Treasury minister David Gauke told the BBC that Mr Heaton's comments “are directly at odds with the government's approach to tackling tax avoidance”, and said that “it is right that Mr Heaton resigns from his position."

Mr Heaton told Panorama that he does not advocate artificial or abusive tax arrangements.