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Olympic hero Sir Steve Redgrave used controversial 'tax avoidance' scheme that cost the taxpayer up to £5million

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 05/06/2020 Dan Ripley for MailOnline
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been digitally altered - LOGO ADDED TO BACKGROUND)A portrait of Sir Steve Redgrave, a member of the Great Britain Olympic team, during the Team GB Kitting Out ahead of Rio 2016 Olympic Games on July 12, 2016 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) © 2016 Getty Images BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 12: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been digitally altered - LOGO ADDED TO BACKGROUND)A portrait of Sir Steve Redgrave, a member of the Great Britain Olympic team, during the Team GB Kitting Out ahead of Rio 2016 Olympic Games on July 12, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Sir Steve Redgrave is one of dozens of wealthy individuals who used a controversial 'tax avoidance' scheme that could have cost HMRC up to £5million, it has emerged. The Olympian, who has five gold medals, put money into a scheme that gave tax breaks for investing in regeneration projects alongside barristers, accountants, investors, City executives and entrepreneurs.

The plan, allowing Scottish councils to save money while sprucing up deprived areas, may have seen the champion rower and others sign up in good faith, but HMRC suspects the tax relief which some were able to claim was more than legally allowed, according to The Times.

Steve Redgrave in a blue shirt: Sir Steve Redgrave, pictured, is one of dozens of wealthy individuals who used a controversial 'tax avoidance' scheme that could have cost HMRC up to £5million, it has emerged © Provided by Daily Mail Sir Steve Redgrave, pictured, is one of dozens of wealthy individuals who used a controversial 'tax avoidance' scheme that could have cost HMRC up to £5million, it has emerged

News of Sir Steve's involvement comes after exchequer bosses won a recent tribunal against Inverclyde Property Renovation LLP & Clackmannanshire Regeneration LLP - and hopes to claw back £2 billion over similar schemes up and down the country. HMRC said in a statement they 'will not hesitate to protect taxpayers' money by challenging these schemes in court'.  

Investors have previously contributed to regeneration projects as part of Business Premises Renovation Allowance (BPRA) which provided tax breaks for renovating buildings that have been empty for a year. Such schemes included the likes of Simon Koshoff, the co-founder of the Carluccio's restaurant chain. BPRA however was scrapped in 2017 after its links with tax avoidance.

ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Sir Steve Redgrave tees off on the 14th hole during Day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links on September 27, 2019 in St Andrews, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images) © 2019 Getty Images ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 27: Sir Steve Redgrave tees off on the 14th hole during Day two of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links on September 27, 2019 in St Andrews, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images) BPRA was a government scheme and although links to tax avoidance will be unwelcoming to Redgrave and Koshoff there is no suggestion they are implicated in any wrongdoing. Both Redgrave and Koshoff were approached for comment but did not respond. 

However, the promoters of schemes involving Inverclyde and Clackmannanshire councils successfully argued at appeal that the tax authorities had erred when it came to their schemes. But that has been overturned, and it will allow the HMRC to demand £2bn back from the schemes up and down the country.

a person sitting at a table in a restaurant: Simon Koshoff, pictured, the co-founder of the Carluccio's restaurant chain, has also reportedly invested in similar schemes © Provided by Daily Mail Simon Koshoff, pictured, the co-founder of the Carluccio's restaurant chain, has also reportedly invested in similar schemes BPRA was introduced in 2007 to encourage investment in deprived areas to assist regeneration. Investors received tax breaks of up to 100 per cent of their qualifying investments that helped build up premises. Across Britain this aided the building of hotels, offices and warehouse.

Due to inflated claims it was abolished a decade later after fears the system was being abused and costing the exchequer too much due to inflated claims.

In the Inverclyde and Clackmannanshire schemes, investors owned the buildings for a short period and received a loan from the councils. They renovated the buildings and then deducted up to 100 per cent of the cost from their personal tax bills.

PLOVDIV, BULGARIA - MAY 12:   Sir Steve Redgrave,  High Performance Director of China's national rowing team cycles along the coaches path watching his teams during Day Three of the World Rowing Cup 1 on May 12, 2019 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) © 2019 Getty Images PLOVDIV, BULGARIA - MAY 12: Sir Steve Redgrave, High Performance Director of China's national rowing team cycles along the coaches path watching his teams during Day Three of the World Rowing Cup 1 on May 12, 2019 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) On the case against the two Scottish LLPs, an HMRC spokesperson said:  'This decision is one example of the way tax avoidance scheme users will try to find any means possible to avoid payment of tax due under the law. We will not hesitate to protect taxpayers' money by challenging these schemes in court.

'We are pleased that the Upper Tribunal has confirmed our clear position that LLPs that trade with a view to profit are required to complete partnership tax returns, and that we have the ability to enquire these returns.'


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