Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Plumber's mates

This blog has occasionally reported on the radio production and business acumen of John Myers, sometime adviser to BBC Radio.

Radio management at the BBC will be pleased as punch to note his disagreements with HMRC over tax on his 2005/6 salary, when he was running the Guardian Media Group's radio operations. This Is Money says his salary for the year was £6.3m. Myers stepped down as CEO in March 2009, but continued to be paid as an advisor to the Group on regulation and DAB.

For 2005/6, the BBC was in the showbiz hands of Michael Grade and Mark Thompson. Jenny Abramsky was running radio, on what turns out to be a mere £322k.  That's a 95% discount on Mr Myers take-home pay.  Mark Thompson was struggling to make ends meet on £619k - an 85% discount on Johnny's deal.

Mr Myers planned his tax reporting through NT Advisors. (Other clients, for different schemes, included Chris Moyles.)  He was assigned an option to buy shares in Stony Heating Limited, exercised it to the tune of £6m, then sold the shares a few days later for £552.  The "loss" reduced his tax bill for the year from £2.4m to £130,000.

SHL's main asset was a plumbing supplies shop in Milton Keynes, jointly owned by Mark Jenner, who knew it from the days when he was an apprentice plumber. It was virtually a dormant business in 2005, when Mark's brother Matthew, a partner in NT Advisors, lighted upon it.  Stony operated out of Vicarage Road, Stony Stratford, but in 2006 it became a company incorporated in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and thus an ideal home for John's £6m.

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