The 23-year-old British actor admits he was unable to keep track of his massive earnings as a teenager and wasted a lot of his pay cheques on “typical teenage stuff”.
He tells Britain’s Daily Mail, “I bought a lot of rubbish things that kids buy: skateboards and clothes and typical teenage stuff. And, as soon as I could, I wasted a lot of money on cars – BMWs mostly – for myself and my family. My mum told me: ‘You have worked hard for it so get what you want, but beware, you will lose money on cars’. And she was right.”
Felton received a “scary” wake-up call when he was handed a massive tax bill and debt collectors turned up at his house to take away his possessions.
He explains, “My parents did what they could, but when money is thrust upon you so are a load of other things: tax, VAT, mortgages – things a 16-year-old really doesn’t know anything about. I got myself into a bit of trouble.
“There was a scary two years where it was madness because I was really in trouble with the taxman. I had been working for eight years and all I had to show for it was this horrible debt. At one point we had the bailiff at the door.
“I was so naïve I didn’t even know what he was there for. He pointed at my car and said: ‘This yours?’ and I said: ‘Oh, yes, I bought it two weeks ago and it’s all paid off’. He said: ‘Brilliant, we’ll take it. Give us the key.'”
Felton has spent the last 18 months working with an accountant to sort out his finances, and admits he is relieved to have finally put his problems behind him.
He adds, “I managed to get out of that situation but it was a scary time, the result of too long burying my head in the sand. I’ve spent the past year and a half with an accountant, trying to understand VAT, DVD residuals and things like that. I’ve had to really grow up.”