Gibraltar-domiciled companies face questioning over tax payments

Insurance companies domiciled in Gibraltar face paying back millions to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Companies including Admiral, Advantage and Zenith, which are based in the tax haven, currently claw back any VAT spent in this country from the UK government. But HMRC believes that they may not be entitled to do so.

It is holding a series of hearings with the individual companies to establish whether the extent of their UK operations means they should be paying higher levels of tax.

Insurance Times understands that Admiral will be the first company to be examined, with the others following.

An Admiral spokesman said: “Admiral does have an insurance company in Gibraltar but motives for establishing those were certainly not related to tax.”

Insurance Times understands that if tax officials are successful, they could claw back millions from the insurer. The FTSE-100 giant claims back a huge amount of VAT from the money it spends on marketing and advertising in the UK.

Zenith, a fraction of the size of Admiral, is being challenged for £2m. Parent company Guardian Holdings chief executive Geoff Mack said he would fight the claim at the hearings.