Anne Robinson Gives Away £50 Million Fortune to Avoid Inheritance Tax

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Television presenter Anne Robinson has revealed that she has distributed her £50 million fortune among her family to avoid paying inheritance tax after her death.

The 79-year-old, known for her roles on Countdown and The Weakest Link, explained her decision in an interview with Saga magazine, stating, “I’ve given it all away. I don’t want the taxman to have it. I’ve spread it about quite a lot, to the children. They may as well enjoy it now.”

Robinson, who lives in the Cotswolds, has a daughter, Emma Wilson, 53, and two grandchildren, Hudson, 14, and Parker, 13. Inheritance tax, often deemed the most unpopular tax in the UK, is levied at a rate of 40% on estates valued over £325,000, but it only affects less than 5% of estates according to recent House of Commons research.

In her interview, Robinson, who recently confirmed her relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles, the Queen’s ex-husband, stated she had “no idea” of her exact net worth. She emphasized that her primary desires now are “good health and family happiness.” Renowned for her sharp remarks and the catchphrase “you are the weakest link, goodbye” on The Weakest Link, Robinson has also been appointed as Saga’s new agony aunt starting in June.

When questioned by Saga about her relationship with Parker Bowles, Robinson bluntly responded, “Yes. Full stop. Mind your own business.” The couple reportedly met over a year ago at a friends’ lunch.

In the fiscal year 2020-21, HM Revenue & Customs reported that estates from less than 4% of deaths paid inheritance tax, contributing £5.76 billion to the treasury. Gifts made more than seven years before the donor’s death are exempt from inheritance tax, while those made within seven years may be taxable. Gifts to charities, political parties, or for national purposes are excluded from the net estate for inheritance tax purposes.

Seven years prior, HMRC won a landmark ruling against the Liberty tax avoidance scheme, which involved high-profile investors, including Robinson. The scheme, intended to save tax on substantial sums, was ruled artificial and uncommercial. Robinson was believed to have invested £280,000 in the scheme to avoid tax on £4 million. Post-ruling, she asserted, “I owe no tax. Lucky me!”

The ruling against the Liberty scheme enabled HMRC to recover £18 million, underscoring the financial consequences of engaging in tax avoidance schemes. Penny Ciniewicz, HMRC’s director general for customer compliance, reiterated the warnings about such schemes at the time.

For Robinson, the decision to give away her fortune is not just about safeguarding wealth but also ensuring her family benefits now rather than leaving it to the taxman.

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