Jimmy Carr apologises on Twitter for paying 'less tax'
Comedian refers to 'terrible error of judgement' and says he has withdrawn from K2 tax scheme
JIMMY CARR has made a public statement for the first time since it emerged that he sheltered £3.3 million a year from the taxman.
The Times revealed on Tuesday that the comedian paid as little as one per cent tax by channelling his earnings through a Jersey-based scheme called K2 that returns the money to him via a non-taxable loan.
While the scheme is legal, Carr came in for much criticism over the immorality of tax avoidance. David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury with responsibility for HMRC, described it as "morally repugnant". Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said tax avoiders are the "moral equivalent of benefit cheats" and David Cameron described the K2 tax avoidance scheme as "morally wrong" and "very dodgy".
Carr was also criticised for hypocrisy after a sketch on his satirical TV show 10 O'Clock Live resurfaced, in which he lampooned Barclays over allegations of tax avoidance.
This morning Carr made a statement on Twitter apologising for his "terrible error of judgement".
He wrote: "I appreciate as a comedian, people will expect me to 'make light' of this situation, but I'm not going to in this statement as this is obviously a serious matter. I met with a financial advisor and he said to me 'Do you want to pay less tax? It's totally legal.' I said 'Yes.'
"I now realise I've made a terrible error of judgement. Although I've been advised the K2 Tax scheme is entirely legal, and has been fully disclosed to HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs), I'm no longer involved in it and will in future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly. Apologies to everyone. Jimmy Carr."
The comedian had only previously commented on the exposé during a gig on Tuesday night after an audience member shouted: "You don't pay tax." He replied: "I pay what I have to and not a penny more." ·