Tax scheme investors 'wasted cash'

Meryl StreepInvestors in a multimillion-pound tax avoidance scheme involving a film production company responsible for Chariots of Fire and Gandhi have been wasting their money, a tax tribunal has ruled.

The scheme was marketed by Goldcrest Pictures Limited, which has financed, produced or distributed over 100 films, including Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
According to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), a Goldcrest company, based in the British Virgin Islands, sold rights in two feature films for an artificially inflated figure of £21.9 million to hedge fund manager Patrick Degorce.

He was only required to pay £4.8 million of his own money, and immediately sold the rights back to the same Goldcrest company for a fraction of the price. He claimed the difference was a trading loss, and aimed to set this off against £18.8 million profits from his hedge fund to avoid paying tax on them.

An HMRC spokesman said the tribunal, sitting in London, ruled the scheme did not work and users would receive no tax relief on the money they put into it.

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: "The Government has made it clear that we will not allow marketed avoidance schemes to deprive the UK of vital tax revenues. We have invested nearly £1 billion to help HMRC take action against the minority of taxpayers who think they are above the law, we are bringing in new anti-avoidance legislation and we are giving HMRC greater powers to clamp down on those who sell dubious avoidance schemes like this one.

"The tribunal's ruling in this case sends a clear message to anyone tempted to buy into this type of scheme."

Jim Harra, HMRC director general for business tax, said: "This is another film scheme which has delivered none of the tax benefits promised by the promoter.

"Mr Degorce put in nearly £5 million of his own money, including £1.6 million which went into the promoter's pocket, but all he has come away with is an HMRC inquiry and an appearance before a tax tribunal.

"Sadly, many people have been tempted by similar schemes which we also believe don't work, and we have opened a settlement opportunity to get them back on the straight and narrow. I would urge anyone in this position to sign up for this facility quickly."

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Tax scheme investors 'wasted cash'

King of pop Jackson was rumoured to have financial problems when he died in June 2009.

However, his music shot back into the charts as soon as he was no longer around to make any more and it is estimated that Jackson has sold well over 10 million albums since his death at the age of 50.

As a result - according to the latest figures from Forbes Magazine - Jackson's estate made an incredible $170 million (£108 million) in the 12 months to October 2011.

Presley's estate, which is thought to be worth about £1 billion, has generated many millions from music royalties, licensing deals and tourism at Graceland since his death in 1977, aged 42.

And it continues to earn about $55 million a year, partly thanks to posthumous appearances in adverts for products including Apple's iMac to Lipton's Tea.

Monroe is one of the most iconic stars of all time. And despite dying in 1962, her curvaceous image is used to sell everything from Visa to Volkswagen.

When she died, aged 36, her estate was valued at £1 million. However, the Forbes figures indicate that it earned a massive $27 million in the 12 months to October 2011.

The Beatle's estate has earned vast sums since he was shot dead in New York in 1980.

It was valued at about £100 million at the time of his death, but is since estimated to have grown by a further £200 million. And according to the latest Forbes list, it still makes $12 million a year.

The Nirvana singer, who committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 27, continues to be an iconic figure for many fans.

And his songs are still bringing in huge amounts of cash. In 2006, Cobain's widow Courtney Love sold 24.5% of the grunge band's publishing catalogue for a rumoured £35 million.

Not all the celebrities on the list are singers or film stars. Crime writer Christie has also amassed a huge fortune since her death in 1976, aged 85.

Her books continue to fill shelves around the world, while the immense popularity of her sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple have made her the bestselling author of all time, according to The Guinness Book Of Records.

However, his music shot back into the charts as soon as he was no longer around to make any more and it is estimated that Jackson has sold well over 10 million albums since his death at the age of 50.
As a result - according to the latest figures from Forbes Magazine - Jackson's estate made an incredible $170 million (£108 million) in the 12 months to October 2011.

Einstein died in 1955 at the age of 76, but the dead scientist is still raking in $10 million a year, according to Forbes Magazine.

His image has been used to advertise everything from McDonald's Happy Meals to the Toyota Prius.

The reggae singer died of cancer aged 36 in 1981. But the Marley family has continued to receive massive royalties from his musical catalogue.

It includes the best-selling album "Legend", which alone is believed to have earned them more than £10 million since his death.

The American rapper was just 25 when he was killed in Las Vegas in 1996.

However, his untimely death has not stopped him becoming the most successful hip-hop artist ever, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide. His estate is thought to earn about £4 million a year from his back catalogue.

The Hollywood star, who started her career at the tender age of 10, died in March 2011 at the age of 79.

By October of that year, according to Forbes Magazine, the value of her estate had swelled by about $12 million.

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