‘Tax superhero’ Melua says she paid bill in full

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SINGER Katie Melua has maintained she paid her taxes in full after it emerged that she was among a number of stars who had invested in a controversial tax avoidance scheme.

The pop star is understood to be among more 1,600 people, including celebrities, doctors and judges, who put money into the Liberty scheme.

About £1.2bn is said to have been put into Liberty from 2005 until 2009, and the scheme reportedly created a tax loss for investors which they could offset against other income.

Georgian-born chart star Melua is said to have put £850,000 into it, but went on to settle her tax in full with HM Revenue and Customs when it was brought to her attention.

A spokesman for Melua, 29, who is married to Doncaster-born former World Superbike champion James Toseland, claimed she took part in Liberty at the “suggestion of her accountants at the time”, adding: “When HMRC stated they were reviewing the scheme, she paid the tax to HMRC in full. Accordingly, HMRC are not out of pocket and she has not avoided any tax liability.”

Melua was given a “Tax Superhero Award” by the charity Christian Aid four years ago after she had stated in an interview that she had paid “nearly half of what comes to me in taxes”.

Christian Aid’s senior economic justice adviser, Joseph Stead, said: “To be frank, finding celebrities we could use as examples to endorse our tax campaign was an uphill struggle as we have no idea about the tax status of most. Katie, however, seemed ideal because of her public pronouncements on the subject.”

Involvement in “aggressive” tax avoidance schemes has already led to criticism of other stars, including Take That’s Gary Barlow, who faces a hefty tax bill for his involvement in another initiative, called Icebreaker.