Irish comedian Graham Norton has slammed wealthy celebrities who don’t pay their taxes and revealed he has never tried to avoid paying.
The chat show star said we would all live in a nicer country if high earners paid their fair share of tax.
Norton is one of the BBC’s most recognisable faces and earns £600,000 per year.
His wage was cut by £200,000 after the corporation started to deal with its gender pay gap issues.
However, he was never tempted to make up the shortfall by going into any investment schemes, which would keep his earnings away from the government.
He said: “I just don’t get the not-paying tax thing. It’s just stupid and very short sighted.
“You see people who are worth a billion and they’re still doing tax dodges and you think how can you be bothered?
“These people who go to incredible lengths to dodge tax would be just as rich if they paid the tax – and would be living in a much nicer country.
“One where people were looked after, where crime was less, where housing was better and people were better educated.
“So the money you’ve saved on tax, you’re probably having to use to pay for barbed wire around your property. It seems totally wrong-headed.
“I don’t spend wildly. And life with money is much better than life without money, for sure. But being able to afford your tax is such a privileged position.
“I don’t like getting my tax bill – it still takes my breath away. But I know I can still pay my bills after I’d paid tax at the other end.
“The people who can’t afford to pay their bills have got no possibility of dodging it.
“So, I do think, ‘To all those huge Philip Greens – pay tax, you’ll be living in a much nicer country.”
Norton also revealed that he had been approached to join tax avoidance schemes but turned them down because he felt they were too dishonest.
He said: “I’ve been offered those things. Your bank tells you about this film you can invest in and you think ‘Oh it would be great to invest in a film and also get a tax break at the same time.’
“But then you listen for five minutes and you realise, these are the film’s producers and they’re telling you the film mustn’t make money or even be released and you’re like ‘This isn’t a good thing’, so you don’t do it. Because it’s an obvious dodge.
“I’d love to help British film but this wasn’t going to help anybody.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling