Harry Potter star Rupert Grint loses appeal over £1m tax refund
Harry Potter film star Rupert Grint has lost the latest round of a legal battle for a £1 million tax refund.
A tax tribunal rejected an earlier appeal by the actor against an HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) block on him using a change in accounting dates to shield his earnings from a higher tax rate.
The 30-year-old, who is calculated to have earned around £24 million from playing the character Ron Weasley in the Potter film franchise, took his case to the Upper Tribunal in London.
At a hearing in December, his barrister Patrick Soares said the previous judge had applied the wrong legal test when deciding Mr Grint’s case.
Mr Soares said: “In this case, the judge had really created a new test in determining what the accounts of the trader is for the purposes of income tax.”
But in a decision published on Wednesday, Mrs Justice Rose and Judge Jonathan Richards dismissed Mr Grint’s appeal.
The previous tribunal judge stressed it was not part of HMRC’s case that Mr Grint – who admitted at the earlier hearing that his knowledge of his financial affairs was “quite limited” – was involved in tax avoidance.
They found Mr Grint had failed to show a valid change in accounting dates because he did not have accounts showing the correct accounting period for the change.
The Upper Tribunal upheld that decision, saying it contained “no error of law”.
Its ruling described how Mr Grint changed his accounting date so 20 months of income would fall to be taxed in 2009-2010, bringing forward liability for payments on eight months’ worth of income otherwise due in the tax year 2010-2011 – the year the top rate of tax rose from 40% to 50%.
If the date change had been accepted, it would have led to a 10% saving on income – about £1 million, according to Mr Grint’s accountants.
In the week the case was heard, Mr Grint told Radio Times magazine: “I actually don’t know how much I have. I couldn’t even really guess.
“It doesn’t really motivate me too much. It makes you comfortable, that’s the good thing about it, I think.
“I’m glad it’s there but I’m not really that focused on it.”