Last month, managing director of Icebreaker Management Services, Caroline Hamilton, stopped communication with investors regarding its case against HMRC.
It followed Icebreaker threatening Deloitte with legal action after the Big Four firm was sacked as legal advisor because Bill Dodwell, its head of tax policy, wrote an article urging readers to “congratulate” a tribunal after it ruled that investors had used the scheme to shelter over £300m.
In a letter seen by economia, Hamilton told investors that, “Following an article in The Times (which was clearly based on the update I sent you on Monday), it is with regret that we will have to suspend further updates for the time being in order to maintain confidentiality. I know this is hardly ideal but ultimately we feel this is in our best interests."
Icebreaker hit headlines in May after the tax tribunal ruled that the fund, used by over 1,000 members, including high profile participants such as Take That’s Gary Barlow, was a conscious attempt to avoid tax. The tribunal ruled the scheme was “known and understood by all concerned to be a tax avoidance scheme”.
Today, Rebus Group, which represents the investors, has launched the Rebus Icebreaker Settlement Entity action group. It said it will, “help those investors who have invested in the Icebreaker scheme and are now facing demands for liabilities owed to HMRC which are unfair and don’t take into account their financial circumstances.”
Rhys Thomas, director at Rebus Management Services, said, “What Icebreaker has made investors endure is completely unacceptable. The court decision in May of this year saw all tax reliefs claimed, denied, leaving investors facing tax liabilities from previous years, together with interest and possible penalties.
“These investors wish to end the uncertainty over the eventual outcome of litigation and its open ended cost, and instead, reach an agreement with HMRC.”