back to article Island-hopping Beardy Branson: I'm dodging rain, not taxes

Richard Branson has denied that he lives on his Caribbean private island for tax reasons, after a report over the weekend branded him "tax exile". The Virgin Galactic boss claims he relocated to Necker in the British Virgin Islands for the good of his health and because he loves the 74sq acre self-made resort. "Seven years …


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  1. kororas

    People are just jealous, don't blame him at all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      or maybe they are Virgin Cable subscribers and have some frustration getting its customer services to do anything, so pick a target?

      1. zooooooom

        Re: jealous

        Er well yeah - if he owned it!

    2. Shagbag

      People are just ignorant

      He doesn't live in the UK. He doesn't use any UK public services. Why the fuck should he pay UK tax on his non-UK source income?

      This whole tax avoidance "debate" has been hijacked by the ignorant and uninformed.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: People are just ignorant

        I 2nd your opinion..

        But America does just that, taxes you for income abroad earned abroad...

        Work ONE day on American soil and they will hound you down... (or so I've heard)

    3. Mips

      Quite right

      But he looked pretty healthy when he was kite surfing off Hayling Island in the record kite surfing attempt few weeks ago. That's Hayling Island UK not anywhere else.

      When he said health reasons that probably "health of my bank account" reasons. Sill if you can do it why not?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Rain, my arse

    BVI rainfall: 1,150 mm (45.3 in) per year

    London rainfall: 601.7mm (23.69 in) per year

    I'll get Beardy a raincoat. He'll need one. ---->

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: Rain, my arse

      Sure it rains a bit... but the Record Minimum temperature is 16C.

      I think I would put up with the rain for the temperature.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Rain, my arse

        Its a lot of rain, over a shortish usually predictable amount of time, and if its anywhere like the rest of the tropics its warm.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rain, my arse

        I used to work at a law firm that had an office in BVI, when vacancies or secondment opportunities came up for that office people would literally fight over them.

        So, in all honesty I don't blame him.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rain, my arse

      And to make full use of those thick mosquito nets round his bed. And the sand flies etc etc

    3. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Rain, my arse

      Yes, but in BVI it rains in big storms over very short time and for most of the year is sunny.

      In London it rations the rain over a long time so it's raining for a lot longer period of time.

      And even when it's not raining it's cloudy.

      and cold.

    4. Gray Ham

      Re: Rain, my arse


      *That's* where I've seen you before ... t'rain gauge at t'Town 'all ....

  3. LazyLazyman

    I'm the first one to level criticism at people for moving overseas to dodge tax and corps using loopholes, but to me I don't see what is wrong with what he has done. He is not hopping backwards and forwards, or messing around with being in the UK for X months a year. He genuinely seems to have moved to an island he owns, and has done for a long time. He could have done allot of creative accounting and employed some very good accountants to reduce his tax, but he dose not seem to have done this. He just seems to have done what we would all like to do, move to a nice sunny place to retire (Albeit not full retirement, as he is probably one of the people who can't stop working on something).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Completely agree, Seems like a genuinely nice person who deserves his retirement. Leave him alone red tops!

  4. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

    Seven months of winter vs warm, sunny tropics? I don't blame him at all.

  5. JDX Gold badge

    So tell us Mr. Branson

    What reason could you have for living on your own PRIVATE TROPICAL ISLAND other than tax evasion?


    1. Shrimpling

      Re: So tell us Mr. Branson

      He could be planning to disrupt US space launches with a radio beam weapon.

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: So tell us Mr. Branson

        Check shipping records to the island to see if he has brought in a flamethrowing tank.

        Paris, because we don't have an Ursula Andress icon.

    2. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face

      Re: So tell us Mr. Branson

      Mm. Maybe he's a bond villain.

    3. hplasm Silver badge

      Re: So tell us Mr. Branson

      To make you jealous.

    4. Graham Dawson

      Re: So tell us Mr. Branson

      I dunno, JDX. Perhaps the fact that it's a tropical island is a pretty good reason to live there? I don't begrudge him that. I'd do the same if I were rich enough to buy an island. What's the point of an island if you don't live on it?

      Just as long as he doesn't start lobbying for any tax increases in the UK. These rich ex-pats have been known to do that from time to time.

    5. Goldmember

      Re: So tell us Mr. Branson

      I can think of several off the top of my head:

      - Privacy

      - Atmosphere/ prestige

      - Hula girls

      - Excellent weather (warm sun most of the time, cool tropical rain storms now and again)

      - Awesome house (see "Cribs")

      - It's your own frigging island! Who wouldn't want that? You could effectively be the king

      And like the man said, he has an absolute shitload of cash. Paying more or less tax in a year won't make any difference to him; he can't spend whatever he has left anyway.

    6. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: So tell us Mr. Branson

      Jealosy much?

      Let me spell it for ya: "For the same bloody reason I have rebuilt a derelict propery in the mountains of a Eastern European country which happens to have _HALF_ of UK tax rate".

      I did it so I can spend a few months a year in an unspoiled location where I can work without dealing with the joys of day to day UK life. I manage to achieve ~ 200-400% of the productivity I get in the UK despite having to chop wood, fill water daily and constantly repair the bits of the house that try to fall apart after yet another 2m of snow in winter.

      Hopefully, one day, I can semi-retire there (I am not one of those people that can stop working). I did not chose the place for its 25% tax rate. I chose it because it was in a middle of a wood in a national park with the closest village 13 miles away and closest city 30 miles away. The house was a ruin, the place was drop dead gorgeous.

      He had more money than me when he chose his, that's all. I believe in his reasoning.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: So tell us Mr. Branson

        I apologise. I thought using all-caps would CLARIFY IT WAS A JOKE but clearly that was far to subtle for you lot.

    7. MrXavia

      Re: So tell us Mr. Branson

      I would live on my own PRIVATE TROPICAL ISLAND if I had the money!

      Who wouldn't want to retire to their own island???

      His businesses pay UK taxes, they employ UK resident workers..

      His Airline is still the best British Airline to fly... and as much as people love to complain about virgin broadband, its better than shitty ADSL..

      If you had built up more money than you could expect to spend in your lifetime, wouldn't you retire somewhere you loved?

  6. fixit_f

    Seems reasonable

  7. Crisp Silver badge

    Nice to see Branson planning on doing something productive


  8. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    He could just make a donation of some of that excess cash

    and fund Ben Ainslie's America's Cup challenger. Income & jobs for the UK, and a potential poke in the eye for Larry Ellison. What's not to like?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When my parents retired they moved back to the Caribbean island they came from. They did it to escape the cold. I guess Branson did the same, only he did it in style. Good on him.

  10. Alan Denman

    pay your taxes here then?

    Someone like Branson will not normally be resident anywhere for more than 6 months of the year.

    However, probably like selling his estate sale to the kids, money always chases money .

    He ain't changed so I certainly do not expect him to serve the UK

    1. David Webb

      Re: pay your taxes here then?

      From what I gather the work he does now is all for charity, all the funds go to charity so there would be no tax to actually pay on it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great News

    This is Great News. After all with Branson leaving we are making a small step towards less income inequality.

    Not quite sure what we're going to do about the missing tax.

  12. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Course he's not dodging taxes

    He's welcoming taxpayers' money to keep Virgin Trains going.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Course he's not dodging taxes

      Even a moron like you should know he doesnt own anything with the Virgin name on apart from the Airline

      Google has some uses

      1. proto-robbie

        Re: Course he's not dodging taxes

        Um, British Virgin Islands, perhaps?

  13. batfastad

    So what?

    Someone who has a house in another country, is living in another country?

    And who cares if it is for tax reasons? If it's not illegal then I'm fine with it and I'm not ashamed to admit that I would do exactly the same. I don't voluntarily pay more tax than I'm legally obliged to now and would make sure that continues that if I became a billionaire. The guilt-tripping by politicians and the media really hacks me off, as if they are morally superior to anyone/anything, which by definition is impossible.

    I expect the Sunday Times will be running the same article for all the others on their rich lists.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I live in London because I have not - not because I like paying taxes.

  15. Alan Brown Silver badge

    what's a sq acre?

    Enquiring gnomes wish to mine.

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: what's a sq acre?

      Either an acre which is bounded by four sides of just under 70 yards each, or an acre which is not hip, daddy-o.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: what's a sq acre?

      It's like a rounded acre but with straight sides.

    3. PyLETS

      Re: what's a sq acre?

      The square of a 2 dimensional space must be a 4 dimensional space. Logically this means beardy must be experimenting with time travel.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what's a sq acre?

      An acre that's square?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Picture speaks a thousand words

    It is a great shame that on at least one picture Richard is holding a Union Flag upside down. It is sad that so many people do not know which way up the Union Flag should be.

    I cringe when I look at people so gaily waving the flag at events - and not having a clue at the insult to the Country.

    1. auburnman

      holding a Union Flag upside down

      If old annuals of The Victor Book for Boys taught me anything, it's that that's a distress signal! Mobilise 007 immediately, he is obviously a hostage in the clutches of some nefarious Bond villain.

      1. Velv Silver badge

        Re: holding a Union Flag upside down

        Absolutely true, although I learned it from The Big Bang Theory, and their gold lion rampant on a field of azure is much nicer than that red white and blue thing.

        "... unless the flag's flying upside down in which case the apartment is in distress"

    2. cortland

      Re: Picture speaks a thousand words

      That's a cross you'll have to bear, but it will get lighter when Scotland leaves the Union, and MUCH easier to put up with when Northern Ireland does in 3011.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So he retired and moved to a warmer clime after paying UK tax in full for 40 years and he's being criticized???


    1. Pat Volk


      Didn't he get started in the record biz by buying non-blighty records to dodge the VAT?

      1. big_Jim

        Re: heh

        No, he got started in the record biz by getting a massive handout from his dad.


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