One-time Tory party donor Julian Richer, who built an empire selling hi-fis and TVs, says he is creating an independent watchdog to expose multinational companies, celebs and landowners who use complex, and often illegal, tax avoidance schemes.
Mr Richer is bankrolling the not-for-profit Taxwatch after growing angry at Briton’s “broken” tax system, the Observer reports.
Mr Richer said he was “outraged by the status quo” and added: “We pay our taxes but these people are just laughing at us.
“You can’t move these days for stories about people and companies trying to find ever more ingenious ways to avoid paying their tax bill, whether it’s tech giants, celebrities or major land owners.”
The venture will see investigators comb through the super-wealthy’s opaque finances to identify those not coughing up what they owe.
He has already garnered support from Private Eye journalist Richard Brooks, author of The Great Tax Robbery.
Mr Brooks said: “The idea is to keep the spotlight on large-scale tax abuse, particularly in relation to big Business and the wealthy.”
Former chair of the Public Accounts Committee Margaret Hodge forced tax avoidance and HM Revenue and Customs’ catalogue of failings to the top of the Commons spending watchdog agenda.
She spearheaded a campaign to haul the head of Google UK and Amazon and Starbucks to appear in front of MPs.
She also urged coffee-lovers to boycott Starbucks when a damning report revealed the chain had paid just £8.6million in taxes on a reported £3billion in UK sales profits since 1998.
However, Mr Richer, who has an estimated £160million fortune, has not always been a tax saint.
In his new book, The Ethical Capitalist: How to Make Business Work Better for Society, the 59-year-old entrepreneur admits to briefly using a legal loophole that enabled him to dodge paying national insurance before seeing the error of his ways.
Mr Richer said: “I suspect the best way to get people and organisations to pay the tax they should pay is to name and shame the guilty parties.”
Mr Richer, who is now advising retail giant Marks & Spencer, was a member of David Cameron’s Leader’s Group of Conservative party donors.
Mr Richer has also spoken of his anger at privatised water companies such as Thames Water, which has not paid corporation tax in the UK despite a massive £1.8billion turnover and shareholders cashing in on an eye-watering £1.2billion in dividends in the past decade.
He said: “My pet chicken Alan is lovely but he’s not very bright.
“He could run a water monopoly.”
Source : EXPRESS