Updated: 18:21 EST, 14 February 2010
Dozens of celebrities are facing massive bills from the Inland Revenue over an alleged tax-avoidance scheme.
Footballer Wayne Rooney and TV presenter Anne Robinson are among those who invested in a fund called Inside Track, which brought tax benefits to investors in the film industry.
HM Revenue and Customs is investigating the fund, run by finance company Ingenious Media.
Star flaws: Wayne Rooney and Anne Robinson are among those who have invested with Ingenious, which is now being investigated by HMRC
Documents seen by the Daily Mail show other schemes run by Ingenious have also attracted huge sums. Footballers David Beckham £5,555,556), Emile Heskey (£2,027,778) and Frank Lampard (£1,388,889) invested in 2004-05, but it is not clear if these schemes are also being investigated.
Such funds were legitimately started after Gordon Brown set up a policy when he was Chancellor to try to help the British film industry by offering tax breaks to investors.
- >Revealed: BBC scriptwriters tried to use Doctor Who to bring down Margaret Thatcher >Star Wars executive and global cinema 'pioneer' Gareth Wigan dies aged 78
Share this articleShare
The aim was for film-makers or those with a genuine interest in a film to invest. But fears have been raised that some may have been used primarily for tax avoidance.
Dozens of celebrities were among the partners in the Inside Track scheme which began in 2003-04, investing sums ranging from £160,000 to £1.4million.
Rooney, Miss Robinson, BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman, film-maker Guy Ritchie, pop star Peter Gabriel and Labour peer Lord Hollick were among those who invested, according to the Mail on Sunday.
Some investors in the 2003-04 scheme have already received tax demands for tens of thousands of pounds. Ingenious has reportedly written to all affected investors informing them of the investigation.
David Beckham invested £5.5m into Ingenious, run by Patrick McKenna (right)
The letter says HMRC believes 'the partnership was not trading on a commercial basis and so [partners] have underpaid tax'. Ingenious says it does not believe this is correct.
Ingenious, founded by chairman Patrick McKenna, has raised £5billion for the industry in the past ten years, investing in films that include Avatar. Mr McKenna was unavailable for comment yesterday.
The regulations regarding film investment have been tightened in recent years.
Any tax benefit is now retained by the film company, not wealthy investors.
HMRC said it could not comment on the tax affairs of named individuals. A spokesman said: 'The tax breaks for investment in British films has been significantly reformed. The loopholes which allowed the tax relief to be abused with no benefit to the film industry have been closed.
'If we find evidence of abuse, we will take steps to put things right.'
A spokesman for Ingenious said: 'Our film partnerships are not tax schemes, they are film schemes.
'It is standard practice for HMRC to inquire into schemes where tax relief has been claimed on losses. We welcome the scrutiny.'
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250975/Investment-tax-dodge-Celebrities-face-huge-bills-film-industry-tax-loophole.html933