10 Dec 2012 09:52am

JPMorgan nears £500m HMRC deal

JPMorgan is close to reaching a £500m settlement with the UK government to pay back taxes from an offshore trust for bonus payments

According to a report in the Financial Times, JPMorgan have asked over 2,000 current and former staff to contribute a percentage of the amount owed to HMRC.

The scheme in question was a Jersey-based trust established 20 years ago, which is now being wound up.

The FT estimates the amount held in the trust at between £2bn and £9bn, suggesting a tax bill of at least £1bn, but that the deal with the government is understood to represent around half that amount.

"Our employee trust has always been transparent to HMRC, and its independent trustee has consistently paid taxes in accordance with UK tax law," JPMorgan said in a statement.

In addition to taxes paid by the trust, the bank has paid more than £1bn of corporate and payroll taxes to HMRC annually over the past decade, according to JPMorgan's statement.

According to the report, trustees were asked to participate in a so-called blind auction, in which they would volunteer to pay a tax rate of their choosing.

JPMorgan’s settlement follows the news last week that Starbucks succumbed to public pressure and offered a £20m voluntary contribution, plus chancellor George Osborne announcing measures to tackle tax avoidance schemes in the Autumn Statement.

Raymond Doherty


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