Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. The Guardian today takes that to a new level with their exposing of Sir Chris Hoy as a ‘tax dodger’. What happened was Sir Chris took a loan from his own UK company and then, er, paid it back again. The loan was fully disclosed to HMRC and is unlikely to have saved him any tax at all.
Taking a loan from your own company is not a ‘cunning but completely legal tax wheeze’ as the Guardian puts it. In fact it’s not a particularly smart move in most cases. The reporter’s confusion arises because the ‘Jimmy Carr’ scheme involves the use of loans – but through a series of offshore transactions and not through his own company.
The article quotes a tax expert who did not want to be named. Unsurprising really given that the story is rubbish. There’s even room for a jibe at Hoy’s accountants who did not return the Guardian’s calls. What did they expect the accountant to say to a National newspaper about his client’s confidential affairs?
Tax avoidance is certainly a worthwhile subject for a journalist to cover but lazy journalism and just looking for the celebrity angle adds nothing to the debate.
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