Tax avoidance is bad for your image

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Accountancy Age reports that Michael Parkinson has dropped out of the totally artificial tax planning schemes organised by UK accountants Vantis.

The schemes involved four companies set up by Vantis in which people invested. The companies were then floated on the Jersey Stock Exchange (which is a farce if ever there was one), after which there prices mysteriously rose substantially. Not just a bit I add, but phenomenally. One such company was called Your Health. Once this price increase had happened (by some mysterious chance) the investors gave their shares to UK based charities and claimed gift aid tax relief on the value of the shares donated so generating substantial tax refunds for themselves whilst dumping wholly worthless investments on the charities in question who then had to write their value off as a cost in their accounts.

To put it nicely the whole scheme stunk and those behind it deserve to be drummed out of any professional organisation of which they are a member for unethical conduct whether or not it was legal.

Accountancy Age report that Parkinson's agent said:

He certainly put his money into Your Health to get tax relief. We were assured it was approved by the Revenue. The minute we realised it wasn't kosher we dropped [it]. We took the hit. We were very sensitive, extremely upset with the advice we got. It came up that the underlying charities were not over the moon about [the gifts].

The agent added that all the advice on the scheme came from Vantis.

To be fair Parkinson has done the bets he can to get out of sticky mess. But three things come out of this:

1) You can't tax plan and expect to come out smelling of roses, because you won't.

2) Greed and charity don't mix.

3) The accountancy profession continues to be dragged through the mud by the far too many within it who appear to have no conscience at all.