independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Chris Moyles asked court to conceal his membership of tax-avoidance scheme

Chris Moyles

Chris Moyles, the BBC presenter, asked a court to conceal his membership of an aggressive tax-avoidance scheme because exposing him would "infringe" his human rights and damage his career, it has been reported.

The former Radio One star Chris Moyles requested that a tax tribunal grant him anonymity in a battle with HM Revenue & Customs over a "marketed tax-avoidance scheme", according to the Times.



The appeals would normally be held in public, but Mr Moyles's lawyer argued that the publicity could damage his career if he were exposed as a tax avoider.



"If it were to become public knowledge that he availed himself of a tax avoidance scheme, his career might be damaged and his earning capacity reduced," Judge Colin Bishop said is reported to have said, summarising Mr Moyles's arguments.



"He is already the focus of media interest for other reasons, much of it hostile."



There is no suggestion Mr Moyles has avoided tax.

The DJ, who was understood to have been paid £500,000 a year, until recently, as the host of Radio 1's breakfast show, argued that "adverse media comment" would breach his "right to respect for his private and family life".



The judge refused Mr Moyles's application, stating that there was an "obvious public interest" in keeping tax cases public.



"The fact that a taxpayer is rich, or that he is in the public eye, does not seem to me to dictate a different approach," he said.



"On the contrary, it may be that hearing the appeal of such a person in private would give rise to the suspicion ... that riches or fame can buy protection from the scrutiny which others cannot avoid."



BBC stars are required contractually to pay "an appropriate amount of tax" on BBC earnings.



A spokesman for the corporation said it was "very likely" that the it would consider the use of aggressive tax avoidance on its pay was an infringement of this requirement.



A celebrity in breach of this clause might, in certain circumstances, face disciplinary action that could lead to dismissal.



It is not known whether Mr Moyles tried to avoid tax on BBC earnings. The presenter, who also works for other broadcasters, did not comment on the BBC's position.



Mr Moyles sought the privacy order after The Times exposed the use of a tax scheme by the comedian Jimmy Carr.



Mr Moyles's lawyers referred in court to "considerable media interest in tax-avoidance schemes, and in particular in their use by celebrities".



The newspaper reported that Mr Carr was a member of the Rushmore tax scheme, which would allowed 500 people to try to deny the Treasury £200 million.



It later emerged that Mr Moyles was also a member, the newspaper said.



Mr Moyles, who left Radio 1 in September, remains under BBC contract.

Richard Alleyne Telegraph.co.uk

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