It is a common tactic for wealthy individuals and their companies to move overseas to pay reduced taxes. Sir James Dyson faced criticism several years ago by doing just that, something which fellow UK passport holders disapproved of. Recently, however, he returned his tax residency and corporate tax to the United Kingdom.
The Original Move
Sir James Dyson originally moved the global head office of his firm to Singapore in 2019 as part of his tax planning. This led to harsh criticism, with many people citing the same concerns as with other similar international moves. Specifically, the main criticism was the fact that he would not have to pay as much tax in the UK as before due to his change in real estate.
When the original move was announced, Sir Dyson tried to mitigate criticism by saying that only two senior executives would move, and no shareholders or UK jobs would be lost.
While the tax implications were a factor in the criticisms of Dyson’s move, they were not the only one. Shareholders and fiduciary critics also pointed out Dyson’s seemingly hypocritical pro-Brexit stance. He had argued that the UK would have more to gain if it left the EU as opposed to what it would lose. Critics believe that then moving a large portion of his company and its investment out of the country was hypocritical.
The Recent Change
As of April, however, Sir Dyson’s most recent company filings indicate that he primarily lives in the United Kingdom. Those filings also confirm that the family office he manages is also in the UK.
What Dyson Says About the Change
Although Dyson himself hasn’t commented on the change, a spokesperson did address the change in management location to some extent. He said that the group’s structure and its business rationale are the same.
The spokesperson clarified that Singapore still has the company’s global headquarters. That is where the company’s management and leadership are located. It is also where engineering, manufacturing, and sales are headquartered.
However, he did not comment on the tax status or residency of Sir James Dyson, just the overall Dyson entity.
Dyson also recently talked to the BBC. He calls his business a “British company” and said he has “put a lot into this country.” He also argued that it would be ridiculous to bring components from the Far East to the UK for manufacturing and assembly before sending the assembled products to the Far East.
Dyson has also been vocal about his stance on Brexit, saying that he still believes it was a good decision. In March, he told the BBC that he felt it returned the UK’s independence.
Other Recent Controversies
The change in Sir Dyson’s tax residency is not the only recent financial or tax controversy he has faced. Also in April, he texted Prime Minister Boris Johnson regarding tax issues and faced criticism for doing so.
The texts in question wanted the Prime Minister to confirm that there would not be any tax changes to his staff if they visited the UK to make ventilators during COVID. In response, Mr. Johnson confirmed he could “fix” any tax issues that occurred because of that. According to the official spokesman for the Prime Minister, this should not be controversial, as Mr. Johnson followed proper procedures after the interaction.
However, critics who are already low in trust for the government want a more thorough investigation into the issue.
Other Plans for Dyson
Not all of the news coming from Sir James Dyson and his company has generated controversy. In early April, he announced that his company would be adding 200 jobs at two Wiltshire locations. These new jobs are a portion of the 2.75 billion pounds global investment plan for emerging products and technologies.
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