The inventor Sir James Dyson is an investor in three different film schemes run by firms embroiled in tax-avoidance scandals, The Sunday Times can reveal.
The 71-year-old vacuum cleaner tycoon is a member of Tamar Films, Tyne Films and Future Screen Partners — all schemes that delay the payment of taxes.
The prominent Brexit supporter, who is worth £7.8bn according to The Sunday Times Rich List, has argued that Britain can make its own way in the world.Dyson Group said the business and its founder Sir James Dyson had paid £1.5bn in tax over five years
Yet last month he dashed hopes that he would build an electric car in the UK, preferring Singapore, where his vacuum cleaners are assembled, for the £2bn facility.
By buying up swathes of agricultural land in Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, Dyson has also become Britain’s biggest farmer. Farmland is exempt from inheritance tax.
Tamar Films and Tyne Films are run by Ingenious Media, which has been involved in a long-running dispute with HM Revenue & Customs over a scheme that helped celebrities including David Beckham, Ant & Dec and Lord Lloyd-Webber to avoid paying tax.
Future Screen Partners is run from the same building as Future Capital Partners, which lost an HMRC court case over a film rights scheme called Eclipse 35.
The Tamar and Tyne partnerships are sale and leaseback tax-deferral schemes, created by the then chancellor Gordon Brown in 1998 to encourage investment in the film industry.
Typically, they allow investors to claim tax relief on lump sums invested in the scheme by taking out a loan. A further investment is then used to pay off any tax liability from annual lease income.
Tax-deferral schemes are not covered by the rulings made against Ingenious Media or Future Capital Partners by HMRC.
Frank Field, who chairs the Commons work and pensions committee, said: “We want to create an environment in this country where everyone — even high-profile figures — pays the taxes they owe.”
Well-known people who use schemes to reduce their tax burden are being identified by the taxman to prevent them getting honours.
Dyson was knighted in 2007 and awarded the Order of Merit in 2016.
Future Capital Partners, which was founded in 2000, is facing liquidation. It could not be reached for comment.
Tyne Films was launched in 2005, has net assets of £23.5m and holds leases for films such as Unstoppable and Hannibal.
Tamar Films, also founded in 2005, has net assets of £18.9m and has acquired the leases for films such as The Last King of Scotland and This is England.
Dyson Group said: “Sir James Dyson and Dyson Group have contributed £1.5bn in tax over the past five years, and take their responsibilities for paying their fair share very seriously indeed.”
Ingenious Media said: “Tyne and Tamar are tax-deferral instruments — all tax has to be repaid over a 15-year period. They are not tax- avoidance instruments, so they are not governed in any way by rulings that might affect other Ingenious partnerships and which are currently subject to appeal.”
HMRC would not comment on individual schemes.Source