Take That members facing large bill following landmark tax avoidance ruling

Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen likely to be affected by HMRC decision

Take That members Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen are among a group of 1,000 wealthy investors facing large tax bills after a tribunal ruled that a partnership they invested in was a tax avoidance scheme.

As first reported in 2012, the Take That members each invested in Barlow’s Larkdale LLP, one of 51 so-called “icebreaker partnerships” affected by Judge Colin Bishop’s decision in court yesterday (May 9). The three men are reported to have invested £26 million in the scheme.

Barlow’s Larkdale LLP is one of the “icebreakers” set to be affected by Bishop’s ruling in a landmark victory for HM Revenue and Customs. The Guardian reports that investors could now face substantial tax bills as a result of the decision.


Bishopp ruled: “The underlying, and fundamental, conclusion we have reached is that the Icebreaker scheme is, and was known and understood by all concerned to be, a tax avoidance scheme.”

It is reported that in some cases Icebreaker scheme partners were attempting to claim tax relief on losses of up to five times more than they invested in the partnerships.

A spokesperson for HMRC said: “We have put in place generous reliefs to support genuine business investment and our tax reliefs for the creative industries work well, enabling the UK’s world-class film, television and video production companies to compete on the global stage.

“But we will not tolerate abuse of the system by people trying to dodge their tax obligations.”

Take That manager Jonathan Wild was also a member of the Larkdale partnership though fellow band members Jason Orange and Robbie Williams were not. There has been no suggestion of any illegality.