One of Britain’s biggest former soap stars who became a chart-topping singer has been declared bankrupt, Credit Today can reveal.
Martine McCutcheon, who starred as EastEnders’ Tiffany Mitchell during the mid-1990s before making a platinum-selling album, petitioned for her own bankruptcy at Kingston-Upon-Thames County Court.
The singer, who lives in Esher, Surrey, made the petition in her given name – Martine Kimberley Sherri Ponting.
Her discharge from bankruptcy occurs on 2 January next year and David Standish and Wendy Wardell, of KPMG, have been appointed as her trustees.
Standish, joint trustee and restructuring partner at KPMG, said: “We are now responsible for administering her estate and are in the process of establishing the individual’s assets and liabilities; the largest creditor being Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.”
McCutcheon enjoyed a period of international success throughout the late 1990s, securing the number one spot in five countries including the UK, with debut single Perfect Moment.
She also starred in the film Love Actually with Hugh Grant and won a Laurence Olivier Award in 2002 for her stage portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.
McCutcheon’s is one of many celebrity bankruptcies of recent years, including former Atomic Kitten member Kerry Katona who owed substantial amounts to HMRC on declaring bankruptcy.
Several insolvency practices are also seeing individuals from the show-business world struggle to manage their finances efficiently.
Ed Thomas, insolvency practitioner at accountancy firm Mazars, said: “Without knowing the background to this matter, one should not point the finger, but generally we are seeing several celebrities failing in their obligation to ensure that their financial affairs are dealt with properly.
“There is no doubt that they pay a lot of money to people who claim to be managing their affairs professionally.
“But ultimately it has to be the responsibility of the individual to make sure their financial affairs are up to date, particularly their income tax affairs.”
Thomas added that before HMRC takes action, there will be several warnings and opportunities to settle any liabilities.
“Therefore, any abrogation by the celebrity of their responsibility to deal with income tax and other debt issues, is no real defence,” he said.
He explained that when a trustee in bankruptcy is appointed to deal with a celebrity bankruptcy, several issues may be encountered.
Thomas added: “The trustee may well be faced with the tricky issues of agent’s claims on the income, the celebrity’s sporadic earnings and a bankrupt individual, who will not take kindly to a reduction in the quality of lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.”
By Marcel Le Gouais
Published 12 February 2013