A Tory MP has claimed he is “not going to comment on his private tax affairs” after being caught using an alleged tax avoidance scheme. HMRC is ordering Geoffrey Cox to cough up an unknown amount after he invested in Phoenix Film Partners LLP, a scheme run by tax loophole merchant Patrick McKenna.
And with McKenna set for a legal showdown with the taxman over a number of similar ruses later this year, it turns out that Cox could be ideally positioned to advise on the case. Spending a significant proportion of his time moonlighting as a £600-per-hour QC, Cox is more than familiar with the First Tier Tax Tribunal — including getting a telecoms firm out of a £250 million VAT ruling.
Here is a selection of his clients from his entry in the Register of Members’ Interests:
£12,000 from Khan Partnership LLP, who boast about the insider knowledge they have via ex-HMRC staff:
“Our Tax, Duties and Regulatory Team include members who have formerly held senior positions within HMRC and other Government departments. We can therefore help achieve client commercial objectives with our experience of the internal policy and decision making process of these agencies.”
£12,500 from Travers Thorp Alberga, a practice based in the, errr, Cayman Islands who advise that “confidentiality protection” laws in the jurisdiction can trump tax information exchange treaties.
£81,600 from Aegis Tax LLP:
“We know that investigations by government agencies such as HMRC or the SFO can have serious consequences for any business or individual. The authorities are now increasingly assertive in their use of powers and can, on occasion, seem to be hostile and intransigent towards businesses or individuals who appear on their radar.”