“Every man is entitled if he can to arrange his affairs so that the tax attaching under the appropriate Acts is less than it otherwise would be. If he succeeds in ordering them so as to secure that result then, however unappreciative the Commissioners of Inland Revenue or his fellow taxpayers may be of his ingenuity, he cannot be compelled to pay an increased tax” (IRC v Duke of Westminster  AC1 (HL)).
This is a House of Lords judgement on tax avoidance dating back to the 1930s. Tax avoidance is legal, although some may see at as ‘morally repugnant’. Everyone has a choice to arrange their tax affairs in such a way as to give themselves a lower tax bill.
Jimmy Carr was not evading tax, he was not paid ‘cash in hand’ to obtain tax-free income, he just arranged his affairs to pay the lowest amount of tax. No one should be subjected, in my view, to the naming and shaming in a national newspaper if they have conducted their affairs within the law.
How far you want to take steps to avoid tax is a matter of personal choice. The K2 structure is very complicated and does come with a number of risks and many people would be unhappy with those risks.
Your personal risk profile may be a long way from using a tax avoidance strategy but sharing income with a spouse, paying dividends instead of salary, making pension contributions and investing in an ISA are all examples of tax avoidance.
If you are in business – and Jimmy Carr is a business – you can choose to mitigate your tax bills or to pay the maximum amount of tax payable. You do have a choice.
All any professional adviser can do is give you the options to make an informed choice. The decision on tax planning always rests with the individual.