Nando's tax haven network exposed

Jul 11, 2014

A network of secretive trusts is exposed as Nando's tax controversy hots up

Flickr – Jerry Wong / CC

A £750m Channel Islands trust is top of a long and varied menu of offshore companies used by the chicken chain Nando's to reduce its tax liabilities.

Use of the offshore tax haven means the family of Nando's owner Dick Enthoven stands to avoid UK inheritance tax on its entire fortune, which includes an £8m Wiltshire stately home, The Guardian reports.

The restaurant group also uses a complex web of offshore accounting techniques to minimise its tax bill.

"Buy a £7.30 portion of spicy chicken thighs at Nando's," the paper says, "and the cash flows into a network of accounting devices, involving Malta, the Isle of Man, Guernsey, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg, Panama and the British Virgin Islands."

The network helps the food chain to reduce its UK corporation tax bill – legally – by  up to a third.

Nando's points out that it paid £12.6m in UK corporation tax last year.

"In the UK, Nando's Group Holdings Ltd incurred corporation tax of £12.6m on a profit of £58.2m with revenues of £485.2m in the year ending February 2013," a company spokesman said.

However, The Guardian calculates that the tax bill might have been half as much again, at £18m, had offshore arrangements not existed.

The news comes in a week in which tax avoidance has received renewed attention. Sir Michael Caine and Katie Melua were among a host of big names exposed for their use of the aggressive tax avoidance scheme Liberty, while treasury minister Andrea Leadsom was asked explain a total of £816,000 of political donations to the Conservatives made by her own Guernsey banker brother-in-law.

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