Mrs Brown’s Boys stars ‘put 2m offshore’

Three stars of hit BBC sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys diverted more than £2m into an offshore tax-avoidance scheme, Paradise Papers documents show.

Patrick Houlihan and Martin and Fiona Delany transferred their fees into companies in Mauritius and sent money back as loans.

Similar tax avoidance schemes have been subject to investigation and challenges by HMRC in recent years.

The actors have not responded to the BBC’s requests for comment.

Houlihan told the Irish Times he had joined the scheme after receiving professional advice without fully understanding it.

Roy Lyness, who put the stars in touch with the advisers behind the set-up, was the accountant behind the similar K2 tax avoidance scheme used by comedian Jimmy Carr.

Paradise Papers – exposing the tax secrets of the ultra-rich

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionRichard Bilton asks Mrs Brown’s Boys star Fiona Delany about the offshore scheme.

The revelation in 2012 that Carr had used a Jersey-based tax shelter attracted criticism from then-Prime Minister David Cameron.

It led to the comedian saying he had made “a terrible error of judgement”.

The leaked documents held by offshore law firm Appleby show how the three Mrs Brown’s Boys stars put their fees from a production company owned by Brendan O’Carroll, the creator and star of the show and real-life father of Fiona Delany, in companies they controlled in Mauritius.

Mr O’Carroll said neither he nor his companies have been involved in a tax avoidance scheme or structure and the actors’ wages were paid into a UK company bank account.

Mr O’Carroll’s production company is registered at accountant Mr Lyness’s office in Oldbury in the West Midlands.

Mr Lyness said he was “bound by client confidentiality as well as duties under the Data Protection Act not to divulge confidential information concerning my clients’ financial affairs”.

Worldwide hit

Mr O’Carroll plays Irish matriarch Agnes Brown in Mrs Brown’s Boys. Patrick Houlihan is one of the boys – Dermot. Fiona Delany stars as Mr Houlihan’s nurse wife Maria, and her real-life husband, Mr Delany, stars as Trevor Brown, the youngest son.

Image caption The show’s creator, Brendan O’Carroll, stressed he had never been involved in a tax avoidance scheme or structure

The sitcom started life as a radio show on RTE 2FM in the Irish Republic and became a worldwide hit after being turned into a TV series by the BBC and RTE in 2011. There is also a successful stage show which tours the world.

A film, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, came out in 2014, and the show’s Christmas specials are among the UK’s top-viewed festive programmes.

Investment advisers

The Paradise Papers documents suggest the actors’ fees from their work connected to Mrs Brown’s Boys was sent offshore to avoid income tax and national insurance.

Source document

Image caption The leaked documents show the trail of money being transferred to the actors via Mauritius

They show:

  • Brendan O’Carroll’s production company pays a UK-based company for the actors’ work
  • the UK company transfers the money to a trust set up in Mauritius by Appleby
  • the actors were self-employed contractors for the trust, which took a 12.5% cut of their fees, before transferring the money into three companies in Mauritius
  • the actors each had effective control over the companies
  • they took on the role of investment advisers, “recommending” their earnings be sent back to their personal bank accounts in the form of loans
  • the loans had been structured to avoid triggering rules brought in by the UK government to prevent similar schemes from operating – with the money paid into the accounts through a third party.

Documents for the 2014-15 financial year show Martin Delany’s offshore company received £448,095 and Fiona Delany’s received £448,168.

No figures are available for Paddy Houlihan, as his company’s accounts for that period are not in the data.

But a spreadsheet for the next financial year shows in December 2015 Mr Houlihan’s company had assets of £696,349, Fiona Delany’s £715,122, and Martin Delany’s £725,030.

Accelerated payment notices

In official guidance issued in 2016, HMRC said it would investigate and challenge such practices.

“Scheme promoters will tell you that the payment is non-taxable because it’s a loan, and doesn’t count as income,” it said.

“In reality, you don’t pay the loan back, so it’s no different to normal income and is taxable.

“So if you’re using one of these schemes and being paid this way you’re highly likely to be avoiding tax.”

Image caption Comedian Jimmy Carr’s use of a tax avoidance scheme came to light in 2012

HMRC has the power to send people using these sorts of schemes “accelerated payment notices” – which require them to repay the tax immediately, while their case is investigated.

Told of the type of scheme being used by the Mrs Brown’s Boys stars, MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said: “If it’s not outside the actual rules it’s certainly… way outside the spirit of the rules.”

She added: “A decade ago perhaps it wasn’t so much in the public domain, but now I don’t think anybody with any sense would be just taking the advice of a tax adviser without asking certain questions… That’s just common sense… these people ought to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves whether it’s really fair what they’re doing.”

In a statement on the Paradise Papers leak, Appleby said it was a law firm which “advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business. We operate in jurisdictions which are regulated to the highest international standards”.

The papers are a huge batch of leaked documents mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax jurisdictions, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders.

The 13.4 million records were passed to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Panorama has led research for the BBC as part of a global investigation involving nearly 100 other media organisations, including the Guardian, in 67 countries. The BBC does not know the identity of the source.

Paradise Papers: Full coverage; follow reaction on Twitter using #ParadisePapers; in the BBC News app, follow the tag “Paradise Papers”

Watch Panorama on the BBC iPlayer (UK viewers only)

Related Topics

More From this publisher : HERE


  • Learn the secrets of making money with stocks. Free Download
  • Put small animated peel image at the top corner right or left on webpage
  • Destroy workout plateaus and trash boring and outdated interval workout with 51 news
  • ApeSurvival is all about survival and self-defense products, tips and news.
  • Our online learning center helps every child become a star learner.
  • Packed full of the info you need for profitable horse racing
  • Join Our Community To Learn All About Commodity Trading And Show Off Your Trading Skills
  • The stunning secret of turning your wife on with the push of a button.
  • Clickbank Ads

    If you like our content help us with a share… or two …  

    Also -  I have some free stuff for you .......

    Nr 1. In This FREE Report you can Discover:

    Secrets to acquiring the freshest, hottest leads via YouTube In-Stream ads quickly and easily! Best secret tips for the most effective targeting for your ads! Totally legal, but little-known method for literally stealing traffic from your competitors! Get more traffic to your videos and landing pages without spending a fortune! And much more - all within this special FREE report!


    Nr 2. Did you know you can Absolutely EXPLODE YOUR EMAIL LIST FOR FREE with UNTOUCHED offline sources?


    Nr 3. The #1 secret to becoming an affiliate superstar - Earn your first $100 online – without a dime to invest.

    If you’re still looking to “make it online – I have just the thing for you. It’s a video series that shows how to make your first $100 online – even if you don’t have a dime to invest. Yes – nothing.  Free.  Nada. Is this possible? You bet. It’s the most powerful system used by those “in the know”. Good things don’t have to be difficult. And they don’t only come to those who wait. Have A Look


    Nr 4. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?


    Nr 5.  You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...


    Nr 6. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong.  How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.


    Nr 7.  Special free report .  It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...

    The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!

    Nr 8.  Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of  traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.

    Nr 9.  When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !

    Nr 10. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!

      Nr 11. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!

    Nr 12. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!

    Nr 13. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.

    Nr 14. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.

    Nr 15. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.

    Nr 16. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)

    Nr 17. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.

    Nr 18. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?


    Nr 19. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"

    This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't  forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.

    Nr 20. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!

    Nr 21. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.

    Nr 22. If you've ever failed to create a WordPress site of your own or typically waste hours & even weeks trying to figure it all out on your own....

    Nr 23. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...

    Nr 24. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!

    Use them  .... and have fun !