Rupert Grint

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Best known for his role as Ron Weasely – Harry Potter’s loyal sidekick – Rupert Grint has lost a legal battle against HMRC for a weighty £1million tax refund.

Reported by The Guardian, the actor allegedly attempted to prevent some of his earnings from being subject to the 50% tax rate that was introduced in 2010 for individuals who earned more than £150,000. This rate was soon reduced to 45% by George Osborne in April 2013.

Cloaking his taxes

Judge Barbara Mosedale – the judge on the case – commented that Grint had been told by his tax advisors that he should adjust his accounting date so that around 20 months of his earnings would fall under the tax year 2009-2010 – the tax year before the 50% tax rate came into effect.

The judge continued to say that Grint wanted to bring forward to the earlier year liability for payments for 8 months of income that was otherwise due in the 2010-2011 tax year. Grint’s accountants confirmed that if the change in dates had been accepted, then Grint would have saved roughly £1million.

Exposing Grint’s accounting secrets

Grint’s appeal was dismissed by the judge, as he failed to prove that a change had in fact been effected under section 217 of the Income Tax Act 2005 and because his accounts didn’t have the correct accounting period for the change.

Rumoured to have amassed a fortune of around £24million from the Harry Potter films alone, Grint suggested that he was simply following advice provided by his tax advisors, and that his knowledge of tax was “quite limited”.

Luke Corcoran, Trainee Solicitor in Commercial Litigation at Simpson Millar, comments:

“Whenever you’re filing your taxes, you have to make sure that your income and dates are all honest; otherwise, you might find yourself in a similar situation to Rupert Grint or even have to repay outstanding tax.”

“The tax rate for higher earners is steep and this might influence some high-earning individuals to look for more ‘creative’ methods of reporting their income, which will inevitably get them into trouble with the law.”

“If you’re unsure about how to manage your finances or need some personal advice on filing your taxes, you should always seek legal advice rather than taking any risks.”

Written by Luke Corcoran

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