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Tax avoidance in football

21 April 2020 / Miles Dean
Categories: Comment & Analysis
The game plan

It’s a funny old game tax planning. The tax avoidance strategies used within the UK’s football industry have recently come under significant HMRC scrutiny with action being taken on a number of different arrangements. The areas of particular interest relate to film partnerships image rights and agent’s fees.

In 2019 HMRC confirmed that it had ongoing enquiries into 198 footballers 44 clubs and 29 agents. Such investigations have even seen footballers’ homes raided by inspectors. HMRC also last year warned some 1 900 football agents of possible investigations following ‘serious allegations of fraud’.

So far some of the biggest names – and the biggest tax bills – have arisen from HMRC’s rulings on film partnerships. In August 2019 HMRC took action against a £450m tax avoidance scheme. Its investors included David Beckham and ...

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