David Heaton spoke at a conference, called 101 Ideas For Personal Tax Planning, shortly before becoming a member of a panel advising HM Revenue and Customs on tackling artificial and aggressive tax avoidance.
He stepped down after he was recorded by BBC’s Panorama programme, as part of a joint investigation with Private Eye, outlining the advantages of tax planning, which he said included ways to keep the money from George Osborne’s “grubby mitts”.
Heaton had also been filmed describing a maternity scheme he called the Bump Plan, and saying: “Ninety per cent of what you pay out ends up with the employee. You can’t really knock that one.”
He explained at the London conference that by deliberately timing bonuses to enable an increased rebate on maternity pay, the tax paid on the bonus would effectively fall from 41.8 per cent to just 8.4 per cent
Osborne was reportedly told about the comments – to be broadcast tomorrow – and was said to “very annoyed”. A source said he “instructed tough action be taken”.
Heaton initially denied doing anything wrong, but his decision to quit was revealed yesterday.
David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Mr Heaton’s statements are directly at odds with the government’s approach to tackling tax avoidance. Therefore, it is right Mr Heaton resigned from his position.”