Celebrities lose £700m film partnership case

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Celebrities including David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Bob Geldof have lost a legal challenge to overturn a tax bill totalling £700m related to investments in film partnership schemes.

The BBC reports around 1,400 people invested in the Ingenious film partnership schemes, which helped produce films such as Avatar.

HMRC argued Ingenious claimed tax relief on artificial losses from making its films, with the schemes instead designed to avoid tax.

Earlier this week a tax tribunal upheld a decision last year to recoup the tax, saying the reliefs were “not allowable deductions”.

The total bill is made up of £420m in avoided tax plus interest.

An HMRC spokesperson says: “We are pleased that the tribunal has agreed with us that the vast majority of what was claimed in tax relief by Ingenious investors was simply not due.”

Ingenious plans to appeal the ruling. A spokesman says: “It is wholly unsatisfactory that the tribunal reached this decision with ‘misgivings and reluctance’.”

Ingenious and HMRC have been engaged in bitter legal battles for months. Last October Ingenious won a Supreme Court appeal against HMRC, with judges ruling HMRC unlawfully disclosed confidential information in an “off the record” press briefing.