A tax tribunal has rejected the Harry Potter actor’s appeal against HMRC’s decision to prevent him from employing an accounting period shorter than 12 months between 31 July 2009 and 5 April 2010 in order to avoid the new 50% top rate of tax, which came into force in April 2010.
The tribunal found that Grint’s tax advisers, Clay & Associates, advised him to move eight months of income into the 2009-2010 tax year, when the top rate of tax was 40% in order to avoid the higher rate introduced in 2010/11.
Because HMRC prevented him from doing so, Grint had to make an additional tax payment of £1m.
Lawyers told the tribunal that there was nothing improper or untoward about the date change. However, the tax tribunal ruled that the actor had failed to meet the conditions on which the law would recognise a valid change in accounting dates.
The judge added that it was not part of HMRC’s case that Grint was involved in tax avoidance as the tax had already been paid.
Jennie Granger, director general of Enforcement and Compliance at HMRC, said, “The clear message with this case is that HMRC will not hesitate to go to court to protect long-established tax rules. We are committed to ensuring that everyone - including the wealthy - pays their fair and legal share of tax.”