A monarch avoiding tax payment is always a good hook for a news story. However, the latest "tax scandal" related to the Paradise Papers goes much deeper than whether HM is paying HMRC a fair amount.
The leaked papers show that approximately £10m of the Queen's private money was invested in offshore tax havens.
The documents reveal that money was put into funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda by the Duchy of Lancaster. The Duchy provides the Queen with an income and handles investments for her £500m private estate.
No doubt further disclosures relating to other high-profile figures "avoiding tax" will follow – like buses these stories tend to all come along at once.
Legal or not?
However, the term "scandal" is largely inaccurate – there is nothing illegal about tax avoidance. It might be considered unethical that those in the ultra-high-net-worth bracket reduce their tax bill massively by using an offshore investment vehicle, but it is entirely lawful.
The scandal, it can be reasonably argued, is that legislation is so loose as to allow this to happen in the first place.
Tax avoidance is legal - tax evasion is not. Whether investing in an offshore bond to defer tax or paying a builder through a company in Jersey to avoid VAT is tax avoidance and is legal. But paying the same builder cash for a job to avoid VAT is tax evasion. The end result might be the same but one is inside the law and the other is not.
Another obvious issue is the lack of transparency. Consider the previously unknown $450m offshore trust that has sheltered the wealth of Lord Ashcroft. Or the billions in tax refunds by the Isle of Man and Malta to the owners of private jets and luxury yachts. Then there is the aggressive tax avoidance by multi-national corporations, including Nike and Apple.
Consider how Apple has used various of offshore structures to shift billions of dollars from the US to Ireland. Rather than pay the US corporate tax rate, Apple, with a holding company in Ireland, negotiated a massively reduced corporate tax rate there.
Complexity and confusion
Schemes designed to reduce tax are not only numerous and difficult to track, they are often complex. Whether they remain the right side of the law will sometimes depend on how they are administered. In some instances wealthy individuals and celebrities are either badly advised or don’t ask enough questions.
High-profile cases have highlighted this point. Take That members Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen - along with manager Jonathan Wild - were among about 1,000 people who put money into schemes purportedly supporting the music industry.
The Take That stars and their manager invested money through a company called Icebreaker. The four men were directors of Larkdale LLP - one of 50 partnerships that Icebreaker arranged to take advantage of tax reliefs that the government had intended would support those in creative industries.
A tribunal in 2014 found that shortly after money was put in to Larkdale, it reported huge losses of more than £25m. Those losses could then be offset against tax, reducing the men's tax bills.
The grey area is that schemes themselves, when genuine and supportive of businesses, are legal. It is underlying motives that come under legal scrutiny.
At the time of the tribunal, HMRC pointed to the generous reliefs to support genuine business investment and insisted tax reliefs for the creative industries worked well, enabling the UK's world-class film, television and video production companies to compete on the global stage.
However, it warned that it would not tolerate abuse of the system by people trying to dodge their tax obligations.
Of course tax authorities whether in the UK or abroad, rely on governments actively supporting a clampdown on tax loopholes rather than paying lip service to reform.
The most recent disclosures may succeed in pressurising world leaders, including US President Trump and Theresa May (both have pledged to curb aggressive tax avoidance schemes) to act but there is always a danger that when this is next week’s news momentum for meaningful change will peter out.