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The tax man puts nearly 200 players under investigation in image war as HMRC expands probe into football

The tax man puts nearly 200 players under investigation in image war as HMRC expands probe into football

HMRC has expanded its probe into football - with almost 200 footballers now under investigation for alleged tax abuses linked to image rights payments.

Tax officials are probing 198 players at 44 Premier League and Football League clubs, as well as 29 agents.

The number of players under investigation has risen from 181 in April, while the number of agents under HMRC scrutiny has increased from 21 to 29 in the same period.

The football investigation has now netted £329million in extra tax for the Treasury, with several clubs having settled with the tax man during the year.

HMRC had demanded the cash from players, agents and clubs suspected of abusing image rights loopholes and tax-avoidance schemes.

An HMRC spokesperson said: 'HMRC carefully scrutinises the individual image rights arrangements between football clubs and their players to make sure the right tax is being paid in the UK.

'We are carrying out visits to every Premier League club and most football league clubs, along with their players. We're currently making enquiries into 198 footballers, 44 football clubs and 29 agents for a range of issues, including image rights abuse.

'HMRC rigorously enforces the rules and has brought in £329 million in extra tax by tackling non-compliance in the football industry.'

Clubs and players net more income through image rights as they are taxed at lower rates than money paid through PAYE.

HMRC football investigation

 Players Clubs Agents Total tax collected
 Oct 201819844 29 £329m 
April 2018 181 51 21 £300m 
July 2017 6739 13 £269m 
Dec 2016 43 12 £158m 

The football industry and HMRC have an understanding that players shouldn't receive more than 20% of their pay through Image Rights.

HMRC has also confirmed it has conducted talks with Spanish tax authorities, following high profile prosecutions for the likes of Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Old Trafford forward Alexis Sanchez.

A spokesperson added: 'HMRC review international investigations to consider any implications for UK tax, and regularly exchange information with other countries'.

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/

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