Comedian Carr’s taxing situation

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Jimmy Carr will find it hard to come back after hitting the headlines this week. The expose about his tax avoidance scheme won’t necessarily damage his career, but how the comedian handles the fallout could well have an impact.

He’s apologised, in a series of tweets and has even felt the wrath of David Cameron (God help him) for his financial shenanigans. First things first. Cameron should never, in a million years, have publicly condemned Carr unless he knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that every singly Conservative minister had never in their entire lives sheltered even as much as 20p in their piggy bank.

The outburst about morality will DEFINITELY come back to haunt him. That in itself should make us instantly forgive Carr’s dodgy financial planning.

But back to the matter in question. Jimmy Carr earns a lot of money. He’s funny and has made a career for himself. A few years ago he bought a very posh house in a very posh part of London for £8m and paid for it in cash. No mortgage there thank you very much.

The story goes that he went to a financial advisor who asked him if he fancied paying a bit less tax in a way that was totally and utterly legal.

Carr says yes.

Am I the only one wondering how many people would say no?

In all honesty, give most of us the option to take home a bit more and hand over a bit less and not get into trouble for it and you’ll have a pretty low turnout in the no camp.

In a very public apology on Twitter on Thursday, 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.”

I can sum up in a very concise nutshell why those of us who can’t pay £8m in cash for a new house are bothered by Carr’s ‘error.’ In a word - jealousy.

The only thing most of us deliberately avoid is looking at the deductions in our paypackets every month because it makes for utterly depressing reading. If I, for example, could stick my wages in a wee offshore bank on Tory Island, the extra money would get me my dream kitchen and a much more up to date wardrobe. Unlike Carr however, I don’t have the money or the contacts to afford such luxuries.

He’s not the only one at it either. I mean, just look at Bono. His tax avoidance makes Jimmy Carr look like a pauper. At least, in Carr’s defence, he doesn’t spend his time going around the world pontificating about poverty.

So I’m thinking Carr deserves a chance.

The irony of course is that the great British audiences who have been his most loyal followers to date, will be the ones most likely to listen to Cameron and be mortally offended.

“It is not fair on hard working people who do the right thing and pay their taxes to see these sorts of scams taking place,” said Cameron.

Actually, Dave, what’s not fair is hardworking taxpayers handing over money to an elitist Tory government who shelter the top earners and cripple those at the bottom of food chain.

I thought Jimmy Carr was the comedian, but it’s Cameron who’s having a laugh with that one.