- The Times splashed on a tax avoidance story on Tuesday. But forget your Vodafones and your Barclays and your Goldman Sachs - the reluctant star of their investigations was one Jimmy Carr.
- The article alleged [paywall] that Carr puts £3.3m a year into an offshore shelter as part of a tax avoidance scheme used by 1,100 individuals. There’s nothing illegal about that, as the man himself said at the time: "I pay what I have to and not a penny more."
Maybe so. However, he wasn’t able to sweep this one under the carpet that easily. It would be bad enough if he were simply a stand-up known for his cruel tongue. But it would be a major embarrassment if, say, he’d performed a sketch lampooning a bank for its tax affairs on Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live...
- The story has even triggered a reaction from another member of the 10 O'Clock Live presenting lineup.
- Can Channel 4 retain his services on the show? Will they do what the BBC did to Angus Deayton following his tabloid exposé a few years ago? We shall see.
In the meantime, it made a nice change to see Carr being the butt of some gags, rather than, say, gypsies.
- He still retains some fans, however, among them fellow comedian Rufus Hound.
- True. Nevertheless, the issue was considered of sufficient significance by Downing Street that David Cameron issued a statement on the subject, saying Carr’s tax affairs were “morally wrong”.
- Could Cameron’s decision to wade into the debate backfire?
- And while the Times story received plenty of plaudits, its parent company is also well-known for employing some very good accountants.