Graham Norton condemns ‘short-sighted’ celebrities who avoid paying tax
Irish chat show host says he has rejected tax avoidance schemes suggested by his advisers
Graham Norton has condemned “short-sighted” celebrities who avoid paying tax. The 55-year-old television and radio personality was revealed to have been paid between €673,000 and €684,000 by the BBC when the corporation published the salaries of its on-air talent in July. Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire
Irish chat show host Graham Norton has condemned “short-sighted” celebrities who avoid paying tax.
The 55-year-old television and radio personality was revealed to have been paid between €673,000 and €684,000 by the BBC when the corporation published the salaries of its on-air talent in July.
Norton, who presents a weekly show on Radio 2 as well as his own TV chat show, said financial advisers had offered him schemes which would help him pay less tax but he refused.
He told the Daily Mirror he does not understand “the not paying tax thing”.
He said: “It’s just stupid and very short-sighted.
“You see people who are worth a billion and they’re still doing tax dodges and you think how can you be bothered?
“These people who go to incredible lengths to dodge tax would be just as rich if they paid the tax - and would be living in a much nicer country.
“One where people were looked after, where crime was less, where housing was better and people were better educated.
“So the money you’ve saved on tax, you’re probably having to use to pay for barbed wire around your property. It seems totally wrong-headed.”
Earlier this month, it emerged that UK tax avoiders face being shunned for honours such as knighthoods as authorities clamp down on rewarding those with “poor” financial behaviour.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) alerted the Cabinet Office to individuals involved in controversial tax schemes, with a memorandum of understanding obtained by The Times saying “poor tax behaviour is not consistent with the award of an honour”.
His remarks coincided with the publication in Ireland of a report that shows many of the country’s very highest earners pay relatively small amounts in income tax, with many using tax credits and reliefs to cut their bills.
About 90 of the wealthiest people in the country pay income tax at a lower rate than the average taxpayer, according to the report from the Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG).
And 83 of these so-called high net worth individuals, or one in four of the total, declared taxable income of less than the average industrial wage, which is just over €36,500.