You may have heard by now that well-respected (and very rich) British comedian Jimmy Carr has come under fire for not paying taxes. In short, Carr took part in a totally legal tax filing process, wherein he was able to pay as little as one percent on income tax. And while he hasn't broken any laws, the country's Prime Minister has released a statement calling Carr's actions "morally wrong."
In order to save face, if even a little, Carr has taken to his Twitter feed to apologize: Over the course of eight Tweets he said the following:
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 realize I've made a terrible error of judgment. Although I've been advised the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal, and has been fully disclosed to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, I'm no longer involved in it and will in [the] future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly. Apologies to everyone. Jimmy Carr.
A few hours later he followed up with, "So it's business as usual. I've dished it out enough times. Let's see if I can take it."
Yes, we shall see what the Internet has to say about Carr's incident. But the British Prime Minister has already said mouthfuls, including, "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."
Yeah, Dingleberry. "Dodgy tax avoiding schemes" for which you are indirectly responsible. I'm not saying what Carr did was "morally" sound, but, like a lot of people, he pays an expert to deal with his financial matters. So, if that person advises him to do something to save him money and it's not legal, why would Carr - or anyone (regardless of their level of income) for that matter -- say no? And a politician lecturing a comedian about being morally bankrupt is pretty rich.
The Prime Minister continued: "The Government is acting by looking at a general anti-avoidance law but we do need to make progress on this." Yeah, well until you fix the problem, maybe you can shut your trap-- unless it's to admit you haven't even been paying attention to your own country's tax laws, or to apologize to the people you lead for allowing such tax practices to remain on the books.
Follow Dylan Gadino on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dylangadino