Sir Richard Branson, who has spent decades flying the Union flag for British business through his Virgin brand, has revealed he is quit Britain to live in a Caribbean tax haven.
The entrepreneur has reportedly sold his Oxfordshire estate and will spend his sixties living on Necker – the island he bought in the 1970s and recently rebuilt after a devastating fire.
According to The Sunday Times, the move means the entrepreneur will not be required to pay any tax on personal income made outside Britain, although he will still be taxed on UK earnings.
His companies, which include airlines, balloon flights and health clubs, also pay a significant amount of corporation tax, the newspaper said.
A spokesman for Sir Richard said it made “no difference for tax purposes whether he is in the UK or the British Virgin Islands” because he spends most of his time starting not for profit ventures, the income from which is donated to charity.
The 63-year-old has raised millions of pounds for charity through speeches and other engagements, his spokesman said, adding that he has lived on Necker for the last seven years.
He will not be allowed to spend more than 183 days in the UK in any one year, in order to satisfy the taxman’s definition of a “non-UK resident”.
Sir Richard started the Virgin brand as a mail order record retailer in 1970 and founded the Virgin Atlantic airline 14 years later.
He is Britain’s sixth wealthiest man with a £2.9bn fortune, according to Forbes magazine.