Sir James Dyson, the champion of British engineering, has quietly transferred his £1.5billion business empire offshore in a move that could save him hundreds of millions of pounds in tax.
Financial Mail has established that in 2009 the vacuum cleaner entrepreneur sold his business to Clear Cover Limited, a company that he owns, which is incorporated in Malta.
The following year he sold the business again, this time to another Maltese company owned by him, Dark Cover Limited.
A spokesman for Dyson last week declined to say exactly why the changes had been made.
Tax experts said Malta offers special tax benefits. Businesses based there are able to provide finance to their subsidiaries around the world without paying as much tax as if they were based in Britain.
There is no capital gains tax for Britons who sell businesses based in the island, though Dyson would have to leave Britain to avoid paying CGT altogether.
Some countries, including Belgium and Canada, offer special arrangements that would enable him to escape paying the tax.
Founded in 1992, Dyson’s company posted pre-tax profits of £198 million in 2010.
He courted controversy in 2002 when he moved manufacturing to the Far East, axeing 800 jobs in Britain and angering unions.
A spokesman last week declined to answer questions on the Malta switch. ‘James has no plans to sell the business,’ he said.
‘James Dyson and his family are UK residents paying UK tax, they strictly adhere to Revenue & Customs’ rules and have no plans to change this. Dyson sells technology in more than 50 countries, creating UK jobs and wealth and in 2010 paid corporation tax of more than £50 million.’Source