Icebreaker, a music industry investment scheme endorsed by Take That, is facing allegations in The Times that a motivating factor in participating in the venture is tax avoidance, CMU has reported.
The Icebreaker scheme has invested in a number of music ventures in recent years, often involving artists intending to work outside the traditional label system. As with many other music and entertainment investment funds, tax breaks introduced by the government designed to encourage investment in the creative industries are often utilised, though Icebreaker claims that its primary focus is on finding new ways to fund and enable innovative music projects.
The Times, however, alleges that due to the way that the scheme is set up, wealthy investors stand to profit regardless of whether their ventures succeed or fail. These claims are based on information provided by wealth management advisors Mulberry Hamilton, who recommended the Icebreaker scheme to an undercover journalist.
Furthermore, the Inland Revenue also appears to harbour concerns about some of the Icebreaker schemes. A spokesman told the broadsheet: “We do not accept that the Icebreaker tax schemes have the tax effects their promoters claim. We are now preparing to litigate Icebreaker but for legal reasons cannot say more. [But] we examine the implementation of [all] avoidance schemes and will not let any aspect of these cases go unchallenged.”
The Times believes that if the Inland Revenue wins in court against Icebreaker later this year, those who have previously invested in the firm’s ventures may have to pay back millions in taxes. This would include, most notably, Take That, with Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and the group’s manager Jonathan Wild having invested between them a reported £26 million in past Icebreaker schemes.Article continues below
A spokesman for Take That has confirmed that the four have invested in Icebreaker ventures, but that they did so based on the commercial opportunities offered and not because of any tax avoidance benefits, adding that Barlow, Donald, Owen and Wild all make substantial tax contributions each year.
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