23/06/2012 14:02 BST | Updated 23/06/2012 14:03 BST

Sir Chris Hoy, Olympic Cyclist, Becomes Newest Star To Defend Dodgy Tax Arrangements

Sir Chris Hoy has defended his tax arrangements after it was reported that he received a loan from his own company.

Hoy, who won three gold medals at Beiijing in 2008, said neither he nor his company manipulated tax law, insisting that he takes his responsibilities as a taxpayer "as seriously as I do as an athlete".

Hoy was reported in the Guardian to have taken £325,00 out of his own company, Trackstars Limited.

One tax expert quoted in the article said that the arrangements were likely to infringe on Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) rules on 'disguised remunerations'.

The cyclist admitted taking a loan from his company in 2010 but said it was repaid in full in October 2011, adding that the practice is standard in most small companies in the country.

"The dividends that I took to repay the loan were in fact taxed at the highest rate," he said.

"I saw an opportunity to buy property and with the guidance of my advisers I borrowed money from my company to do so. The loan was subsequently repaid shortly thereafter by declaration of fully taxable dividends.

"Everything I have done is as a UK resident, and is UK taxable and not offshore."

Hoy's unusual decision to publicly speak out about his financial affairs comes shortly after comedian Jimmy Carr was heavily criticised for operating a scheme to avoid paying HMRC.

David Cameron joined a chorus of criticism of Carr, describing them as "straightforward tax avoidance".

The Prime Minister said it was unfair on the people who pay to watch the comic perform that he was not paying his taxes in the same way that they did.

On Thursday Carr bowed to pressure and issued a statement apologising for his actions, saying he had "made a terrible error of judgment".

Hoy will carry the torch into Manchester city centre after it travels from the Lancastrian coast on day 36 of the relay.


Jimmy Carr Apologises For 'Error Of Judgement' On Tax Arrangements