23 May 2014
According to The Times of London, the Take That members poured £66 million ($111 million) into two dubious partnerships, set up by a company called Icebreaker Management. It is claimed the musicians were able to avoid tax on about £63 million ($106 million) from tours and CD sales, and they could be forced to pay back £20 milllion ($33 million).
Judge Colin Bishopp said: “Icebreaker is, and was known and understood by all concerned to be, a tax avoidance scheme.” The aim, the tax judge continued, “was to secure [tax] relief for members, and to inflate the scale of the relief by unnecessary borrowing.”
A spokesman for Icebreaker Management told reporters: “This decision puts valuable funding for the U.K.’s independent music industry in jeopardy.”
The singers are said to be among 1,000 investors who sheltered more than £480 million ($809 million) through Icebreaker partnerships, which have been under the microscope since details were exposed in a Times investigation back in 2012.
Judge – “No serious or even moderately sophisticated investor, genuinely seeking a profit… would rationally have chosen an icebreaker partnership,” said the judge.
The judge concluded that icebreaker members inflated investments through “entirely circular” loans. In doing so they could offset losses against other tax bills.
Tory-supporting Barlow, 43, and bandmates Howard Donald, 46, Mark Owen, 42, and their manager Jonathan Wild, poured £66million into Icebreaker Management, which styled itself as a music industry investment scheme.