HMRC strikes back at footballers over £250m tax avoidance scheme

Written by Oliver Wade

HMRC is currently in the process of investigating 129 footballers over £250m worth of investments in a tax avoidance scheme, according to The Mirror.

HMRC has recently been clamping down on artificial schemes that were designed to avoid tax, with anyone who has taken advantage having to pay back up to 70% of their original investment. In addition to this, those found guilty of abusing the schemes will also have to pay the interest and any fines, meaning that they are likely to repay “close to what they put into the scheme”, Hargreaves Lansdown said.

Hargreaves Lansdown personal finance analyst Sarah Coles commented: “Over the years HMRC and tax scheme designers have been playing something of an end-to-end game, as the tax rules leave an open goal, so tax scheme designers put in 110% effort to take a shot at tax avoidance. HMRC realises its schoolboy defending is losing it millions of pounds, so it closes down the opposition, tackles the scheme, and equalises.

“In this instance the tax avoidance scheme cashed in on tax breaks for films. HMRC removed the tax advantages, and challenged film schemes it deemed were set up specifically to avoid tax. It’s part of enhanced anti-avoidance activities in recent years, which between 2010 and autumn 2017 have brought in an estimated £160bn in tax. Those who tried to take advantage now face paying the tax, interest and fines.”

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