Depardieu becomes Russian for tax purposes

Gerard DepardieuMarine Dumeurger/ABACAPRESS.COM

Gerard Depardieu shocked the world when he decided to give up being French this year, and embrace Russian Citizenship. His open letter to Putin after adopting his new country said: "I love your country, Russia - its people, its history, its writers. I love your culture, your intelligence." He is also a big fan of the tax system - after very publicly denouncing the changes to the French system.

Adopting a new country is one way to pay less tax, but he is far from the only celebrity to have made an interesting choice for tax reasons.


Depardieu had been in a public argument with France's new socialist leaders since President Francois Hollande said he would raise taxes for those earning over 1 million euros to 75%. At that point he announced his plan to move to Belgium, which the Prime Minister called 'shabby and unpatriotic'.

However, he was drawn to Russia instead, partly by Vladamir Putin, who is said to be a personal friend, and partly by a 13% tax rate.

It's an interesting move, but adopting a new nationality isn't the only approach the mega-rich have taken in order to cut their tax bill. A number of celebrities have hit the headlines for their interesting tax planning choices...

Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Carr will forever be associated with tax after it emerged in The Times last year that he used a legal tax-avoidance scheme called K2.

Those using the scheme redirect their earnings into a Jersey-based trust, which then gives them low interest, or no-interest loans, on which they pay almost no tax. Over time, the trust then writes off these loans, so clients pay as little as 1% tax on their income. Carr has since stopped using the scheme, and apologised for it.

One Direction

One Direction aren't just a floppy-haired boy band, according to The Sun, they are the directors of music companies called 1D Media and PPM Music too. The idea is that by being paid through the company they can deduct any expense before paying tax - which means a hefty hairstyling bill is covered tax-free. They can then pay tax at corporate rates - which George Osborne is doing his best to keep low in order to attract businesses to the UK.

Bradley Wiggins

He may be BBC Sports Personality of the Year and Tour de France winner, but Wiggins hasn't always made popular decisions. This year he pulled out of a tax scheme called Twofold First Services, which takes advantage of farming tax reliefs. He was criticised for his part in it, so withdrew before getting any tax benefit from it at all.

Sir Phillip Green

Why go to all the trouble of moving to a tax haven to avoid paying UK taxes when you can get your wife to do it for you? The retail Billionaire's wife Tina is domiciled in Monaco. It turns out that she actually owns the retail empire, and therefore can take huge dividends when she sees fit - which are paid tax-free in Monoco. In 2005 the Greens hit the headlines when she did just this - taking a dividend of £1.2 billion tax-free.
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