Categories

  • Facebook
  • Yahoo
  • Google
  • Live

Posted: 2019-11-19 09:58:53

Celebrities including Wayne Rooney and Jimmy Carr are set for bumper tax refund after winning High Court victory against HMRC over £263m investment scheme

  • Famous figures from showbusiness and sport ploughed money into scheme
  • By investing in data centres built in North East in 2012, they gained tax relief
  • But HMRC asked some investors to pay extra tax after investigating scheme
  • Now judges have found in favour of scheme raising prospect of refunds 

Celebrities and sports stars including Wayne Rooney, Jimmy Carr and Arsene Wenger could in line for a bumper tax refund after judges ruled on a £263million investment scheme they backed.

A host of famous faces ploughed money into a scheme which allowed them to claim tax relief if they invested in the building of two data centres in Tyneside, north-east England.

But HMRC believed too little tax was paid by the near-700 people who collectively paid £79million into the scheme in 2011 and got £131million in relief.

In 2016, it emerged that the taxman was sending so-called 'accelerated payment notices' (APNs) to those who invested and telling them they should hand over more in tax.

Wayne Rooney was among those who invested in a data centre scheme whose tax relief arrangements have now been backed by judges
Jimmy Carr was among those who invested in a data centre scheme whose tax relief arrangements have now been backed by judges

Wayne Rooney and Jimmy Carr were among those who invested in a data centre scheme whose tax relief arrangements have now been backed by judges

Arsene Wenger also invested in it. He and others could now be entitled to a tax refund

Arsene Wenger also invested in it. He and others could now be entitled to a tax refund

The BBC reported at the time that former England footballer Wayne Rooney, comedian Jimmy Carr and football manager Arsene Wenger were among those who had invested.

It is unclear how much each put in and Jimmy Carr reportedly resigned as a member of Cobalt Data Centre 2 in May 2016.

The scheme's allowances meant investors could claim 50% tax relief on the full £263million cost of the project, even though their total investment was only £79 million, something HMRC claimed was a 'tax profit'.

There is no suggestion however of any wrongdoing by any of those involved in the scheme and many said at the time that were pleased to be investing in schemes they hoped would create jobs in the North East.

Two judges, Mr Justice Zacarol and Judge Jonathan Richards, ruled in a tax tribunal that the schemes did qualify for relief, meaning anyone who previously paid an APN may now be entitled to a refund.

The data centres in north Tyneside have failed to find tenants, the judges said last week

The data centres in north Tyneside have failed to find tenants, the judges said last week

Who invested in the data centre scheme? 

Investors in the scheme reportedly included...

  • Footballers Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini, 
  • Harry Potter film producer David Heyman, 
  • The late Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt, 
  • Football managers Arsene Wenger, Kenny Dalglish, Terry Venables and Roy Hodgson, 
  • Music festival organiser Simon Moran, 
  • Lady Elizabeth-Ann Redgrave, the wife of the famous Olympian, 
  • And businessman Lord Edmiston.

The sites were completed in 2012 and 2013. They are designed to house computer servers belonging to businesses and government organisations, where they can store large amounts of data.

However, the judges said: 'Efforts to find a tenant for the Data Centres have been unsuccessful. At no point since the appellants acquired their interests in the Data Centres have those Data Centres been let.'

The judgement does however threaten to drag on even further, with the judges giving HMRC the right to appeal, meaning any possible refunds could still be months if not years in being repaid.

Mr Justice Zacaroli said: 'We invited further submissions from the parties as to how the apportionment of the price that which does and that which does not qualify for EZAs is to be calculated.' 

An HMRC spokesman has said: 'We are disappointed with the decision and are considering an appeal.'

 

  • 0 Comment(s)
Be the first person to like this.