Former Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles faces tax bill

An appeal has failed, so all those involved in the second-hand-car-dealer tax scheme will have to pay their taxes

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Ex-Radio 1 Breakfast radio host Chris Moyles will have to pay several thousands of pounds to HMRC.

He famously tried to take advantage of a tax avoidance scheme in which a company claimed you were a failed second hand car dealer in order to avoid paying tax. However, the scheme was rejected by a tax tribunal, and now two other investors who were trying to use the scheme have failed to get the ruling over-turned.

The Daily Mirror says that 450 wealthy individuals tried to use the scheme - called Working Wheels - to avoid a total of £290 million in tax. Moyles himself tried to avoid £1 million in tax by claiming to have sold used cars.

A judge earlier this year ruled that it was an artificial loss, and that the scheme had been set up specifically to avoid tax - so was not legitimate.

Moyles apologised on Twitter at the time, saying he took full responsibility for his involvement. He added: "Upon advice, I signed up to a scheme which I was assured was legal. Despite this, my knowledge of the dealings of the scheme was naive."

Now The Mirror says it has seen a letter claiming that two other investors had tried and failed to appeal against the ruling, and as a result, all of those who had attempted to use the scheme would get a bill from the tax man for all outstanding tax and interest.

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Tax scandals

Moyles is far from the only celebrity to have tried to avoid paying tax. The risk is that with too much media coverage you become synonymous with tax avoidance, and struggle to shake the link.

Take That members, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen, were in the news earlier this year after getting involved in a scheme run by Icebreaker Management, which HMRC rejected as a tax avoidance scheme. Barlow recently apologised on Twitter, saying "I want to apologise to anyone who was offended by the tax stories earlier this year." and "With a new team of accountants we are working to settle things with all parties involved ASAP." However, his apology backfired, as social media users were cynical as to why the band had been out of the spotlight after the story, and why they were now returning.

Before that, Jimmy Carr was the poster boy for tax avoidance schemes after reports in 2012 that he had invested in the controversial K2 scheme. He quit the scheme and paid the outstanding tax. He admitted he had made a terrible error of judgment, but he is still the punchline in most tax-related jokes.

But these UK celebrities have nothing on one of the most outrageous celebrity tax stories from the US - which has received bizarrely little coverage by comparison. Wesley Snipes spent three years in prison over £1.4 million he owed in taxes. He was convicted of failing to file tax returns between 1999 and 2004, and said he had been tricked by advisers into thinking there were no laws requiring him to pay any tax. His advisers were convicted of tax fraud and conspiracy. He was released in April last year, but has somehow managed to stay largely out of the spotlight when the subject of tax avoidance comes up.

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