The comedian is mocked on Twitter for allegedly paying 1 per cent tax through a Jersey tax avoidance scheme - and for his sketch ridiculing Barclays for doing the same.

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The popular comedian Jimmy Carr, who only last week performed for the Queen as part of the jubilee celebrations, has £3.3m sheltered from UK tax through a Jersey-based scheme, according to an investigation by the Times.

The K2 tax scheme is used by 1,100 tax avoiders, but the presenter and comedian is thought to be the largest beneficiary and has been the focus of public outcry.

Outraged fans and fellow comedians drew attention to Carr's 10 O'Clock live sketch from February 2011 [see above] in which he plays a buxom blonde cashier promoting the "Barclays 1 per cent tax scam" to viewers.

Jimmy Carr keeps 8 out of 10 pounds. Maybe he should hide his jokes offshore #taxavoider. Andrew Bloch

Fellow comedian Frankie Boyle tweeted: "It's ok to avoid tax providing every time you do a joke about a town being shit you add "Partly down to me I'm afraid" under your breath".

Another comedian, John Robins, added to the criticism, and in response to someone who asked "why is everyone acting as though @JimmyCarr has killed a baby?!" Robins said: "Because babies die in underfunded hospitals".

#Carrtax

As the #Carrtax hashtag took hold, other Twitterers took a more jovial attitude. "Any other comedian wishing they had a more imaginative accountant today?" asked Stephen Grant, while @AndrewBloch added: "Jimmy Carr keeps 8 out of 10 pounds. Maybe he should hide his jokes offshore #taxavoider."

Any other comedian wishing they had a more imaginative accountant today? Stephen Grant

Carr's lawyers confirmed that he was a member of K2, but denied any wrongdoing or illegality in response to the Times investigation.

The government has pledged to crack down on tax avoidance, but the focus has so far been on large-scale corporate tax practices, despite the fact that individual tax avoidance costs the economy £.4.5bn out of a £7bn lost in total each year.

Carr is 'a very nice man'

Among those defending Carr personally was the comedian Rufus Hound, who tweeted to his 627,876 followers: "Jimmy Carr is a very nice man who works incredibly hard and has donated loads of money to good causes. He's done absolutely nothing illegal."

Louis Jon Cant, who describes himself as a struggling comedian, tweeted: "There isn't one person in the country who wouldn't do what @jimmycarr does!? We just aren't rich enough to do it! #teamjimmy."