Comedian Jimmy Carr has apologised for his tax arrangements, saying he had made a "terrible error of judgment."
He tweeted on Thursday morning that he'd used legal tax avoidance scheme K2, which allowed him to pay income tax at a lower rate. The comic promised he would conduct his future financial arrangements "much more responsibly".
Carr, who has famously lampooned fat cat bankers, was reported by The Times to be protecting some £3.3m a year by channelling cash through the scheme.
The aggressive - but legal - tax-avoidance scheme enables members to pay income tax rates as low as 1%.
In a statement released on Twitter, Carr said: "I appreciate as a comedian, people will expect me to ‘make light’ of this situation, but I’m not going to in this statement as this is obviously a serious matter.
"I met with a financial advisor and he said to me 'Do you want to pay less tax? It’s totally legal'. I said 'Yes'. I now realise I’ve made a terrible error of judgement.
"Although I’ve been advised the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal, and has been fully disclosed to HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs), I’m no longer involved in it and will in future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly. Apologies to everyone. Jimmy Carr."
According to the Daily Mail, Carr did not need a mortgage to pay for his £8.5m London home.
Cameron said: "I think some of these schemes - and I think particularly of the Jimmy Carr scheme - I have had time to read about and I just think this is completely wrong.
"People work hard, they pay their taxes, they save up to go to one of his shows. They buy the tickets. He is taking the money from those tickets and he, as far as I can see, is putting all of that into some very dodgy tax avoiding schemes.
"That is wrong. There is nothing wrong with people planning their tax affairs to invest in their pension and plan for their retirement - that sort of tax management is fine.
"But some of these schemes we have seen are quite frankly morally wrong.
Treasury minister David Gauke has warned people using the K2 scheme that there were "serious doubts" about whether it will work and that they could still find themselves facing bills for more tax.
"I don't think they should make any assumptions on that. Very often these schemes fail and HMRC, if at all possible, will close down the schemes and also recover the tax, because if they don't work they don't work."
Downing Street welcomed Carr's apology, with a Number 10 spokesperson saying: Cameron was right to speak out about Carr, however the spokesperson refused to comment on Gary Barlow's tax arrangements.
"The Prime Minister was expressing what probably lots of people felt after reading the coverage," they said.
"What is important is that everybody pays the taxes that they should do. HMRC are looking into that particular scheme."
- Cameron Brands Jimmy Carr's Tax Arrangements 'Morally Wrong'
- Jimmy Carr Speaks Out On Tax: 'I Pay All I Have To, Not A Penny More'
- WATCH: Did Jimmy Carr Follow His Own Advice?
- BLOG: Satire, Hypocrisy And The Jimmy Carr Furore
paul bassett davies
Dr Brooke Magnanti
David Allen Green
David Allen Green