High earning footballers are the latest to attract the attention of HM Revenue & Customs. HMRC’s High Net Worth Unit typically targets taxpayers who are worth more than £20 million. The unit has issued a specially prepared questionnaire to around 24 football clubs, demanding details of luxury gifts and other high value benefits.
The wealthiest British football clubs have been interviewed by investigators from HMRC, who are seeking to discover the value of the benefits provided for football players. The information which is obtained from the questionnaire and interviews with finance directors will be cross referenced with the self-assessment tax returns of the individual footballers concerned. If discrepancies are uncovered, there could be further tax to pay and the football club may be liable for National Insurance payments on the benefits.
A spokesperson from HMRC declined to give details of the contents of the questionnaire sent to football clubs, but did say that the document was intended to discover how the benefits received by players are accounted for. HMRC refused to provide details of which clubs had been targeted and the football clubs refused to comment.
One source did state that HMRC wouldn’t be carrying out investigations unless they believed a significant amount of tax would be involved. HMRC would be interested in benefits like using club credit cards, private security and healthcare, company cars, holidays and first class flights. According to HMRC the investigation was initiated by ‘intelligence’ of undisclosed benefits. HMRC said:
“In these difficult times we are determined to make sure the well-off pay their way.”
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