On Sunday, 13.4 million leaked documents from Appleby’s offices in Mauritius were released and listed around 120 well-connected people who have evaded paying taxes over the past 70 years.
And one of them was Lewis Hamilton.
In case you missed it, have a look at this; they have been dubbed the Paradise Papers.
After winning his fourth title last week, it was exposed that Hamilton found a way out of paying £16.5 million (R306 442 950) in European taxes on his jet, using an Isle of Man scheme that is still to be investigated by HM Revenue and Customs.
The Guardian reports:
The big four accountancy firm EY and Appleby, the law firm at the centre of the Paradise Papers leak, helped Hamilton and dozens of other clients set up seemingly artificial leasing businesses through which they rented their own jets from themselves.
Rita de la Feira, chair of tax law at the University of Leeds described the scheme as potentially “abusive” and continued to say that:
“No one seems to be enforcing the laws that exist.”
But Hamilton is under the impression that his arrangements were lawful, saying that his practice is to rely on professional advice, and that he isn’t concerned with the day-to-day management of his business:
Legitimate tax avoidance schemes are not illegal. There is no suggestion Hamilton was directly involved in creating the scheme used for his jet. He sought professional advice and followed it.
Ya, we know… But:
What experts say, however, is that the scheme created appears to be so artificial that it is open to challenge, that it allowed Hamilton to avoid tax that would otherwise have been due, and that the Manx government did not take the proper steps to collect the VAT owed.
The leaked files that suggest as much as £1.1m (R20 429 530) of the VAT claimed on the jet should’ve been paid. This is on top of hundreds of thousands that’s due on the maintenance and running costs of such a machine.
The superstar said this to the Daily Mail:
“I race in 19 different countries, so I earn my money in 20 different places and I pay tax in several different places, and I pay a lot here as well.
“I am contributing to the country and, not only that, I help keep a team of more than 1,000 people employed. I am part of a much bigger picture.”
Oh, how darling of you.
But this isn’t the first time that Lewis has pulled something like this, having left the UK to live in Monaco and then Switzerland in 2007 to avoid excessive U.K. taxes.
This is clearly how he feels about all of it:
I’d probably have done the same.
[imagesource: Property24] How about that view? Fresh sea air, the relative quiet of ...
[imagesource: Facebook / Sabrina Chiloane] I genuinely cannot believe what is happening...
[imagesource: Netflix] Mark Hofmann is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished...
[imagesource: Genesis via USA TODAY Network] By now, you've seen the images and videos ...
[imagesource:here] According to Oxfam, in 2019 the world’s billionaires had more weal...