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The Times: Lord Sugar tried to avoid £186m tax payment as a non-UK resident

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Lord Sugar tried to declare himself a non-UK resident for tax purposes in a move that would have allowed him to avoid a £186 million payment to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).


The billionaire peer intended to pay no UK tax on one of the largest dividends in corporate history, a £390 million award he drew from his company in the 2021-22 tax year.


A joint investigation by The Sunday Times and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that he tried to argue he was, in effect, not based in Britain at the time. Sugar, 76, argued he qualified for non-residency — meaning a person who does not live in Britain and spends no more than 90 days here in a year.


He had spent months in Australia hosting its version of Celebrity Apprentice.


Sugar wanted the authorities to “disregard” the income earned from Amshold Group, the UK holding company for his property assets and other business ventures, including those formed with winners of his hit BBC reality TV show The Apprentice.


However, he was required to pay the taxman the entire £186 million bill. Sugar had not realised that, as a member of the House of Lords, he was automatically resident in the UK. It is understood that shortly after learning of his predicament Sugar said he would have quit the House of Lords altogether had he known it stopped him claiming non-residency.


Sugar blames his tax advisers for the oversight and is taking action against them to recover his loss.


The fact he was apparently prepared to quit the Lords to change his tax status will raise questions about his commitment to his parliamentary duties.


Sugar was elevated to the Lords as a Labour peer in 2009 and served as Gordon Brown’s enterprise champion. He stayed in the role under David Cameron and switched his allegiance to the crossbench group in 2015.


Sugar has made repeated statements defending his own taxpaying record and condemning those who avoid tax. In 2014, he declared: “You’ve got to pay tax, it is as simple as that. I don’t want to live a life dodging taxmen. I could have put my money in tax-avoidance schemes [but did not].” •


In 2020, he labelled a critic accusing him of tax avoidance an “ignorant ****”, writing on Twitter: “It makes no difference where I am in the world. I am a UK citizen and a tax payer.”



Disappointed in Lord Sugar. Someone who I definitely knew about before reading this article

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3 hours ago, CobraCommander said:

Lord Sugar sounds like Dan Snyder’s “Doing Business As” pseudonym. 

I immediately thought it sounds like the Food Lion private label version of Count Chocula.


Also, leave it to the oligarchs to pretend to be able to simultaneously pull off "I'm one of your government's leaders" and "I'm not a citizen of this country whose government I'm a high ranking official in." Seems like the kind of thing a guillotine should be dusted off for.

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1 hour ago, CobraCommander said:

If I were British I’d be mad he was evading taxes, but I’m not so I’m mad about rich assholes in this country evading taxes. 

And if I wes Canadian I’d be grilling up a moose steak in my Jordache jean jacket while watching the Argonauts beat the Rough Riders.

Edited by kfrankie
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