Gary Lineker facing £4.9m tax bill

The Match of The Day host has been told by HMRC that he is not a freelancer but rather an employee of the BBC and BT Sports and could face a tax liability of £4.9 million.

Amongst other celebrity broadcasters, Gary Lineker has been listed to be investigated by HMRC to which the matter will move on to a full hearing. HMRC is now pursuing him for £4.9 million that should have been paid on income between the period of 2013 and 2018 comprising of £3,621,735.90 in income tax and a further £1,307,160.46 in NI contributions. Gary insists that all taxes were paid on the income via a partnership Gary Lineker Media (GLM) in the sum of around £600,000 and the company is appealing against the assessments. This meaning that the star can avoid paying employers national insurance contributions but would be liable to pay the same if the appeal is unsuccessful.

As HMRC are going to classify that his extensive work for BT Sport and BBC should make him an employee for tax purposes, this would mean that the HMRC would need to prove the two sports entertainment companies had control over him or he had editorial independence.

The rules from the HMRC go back more than 20 years with the Government clamping down on freelancers by encouraging their bosses to set up individual trading companies. The rules are set so that employers have to pay National insurance, holiday pay and other benefit payments. Otherwise, as being a self-employed individual to the business could be paid out as dividends so as a result have a lower tax rate. The BBC have been under scrutiny as seen on a National Audit Office report in 2018. This led to an HMRC investigation in which the BBC, this being the reason why there are currently many cases coming before the tribunals.

Previous attempts with celebrity hosts

Other attempts for broadcasters and ITV presenters such as Lorraine Kelly (Good Morning Britain) and Kaye Adams (ITV). It should be noted that both hosts ended up winning. Due to the complex nature of the topic and the wide interpretation that could be strung together from it. This is why HMRC frequently loses at the tribunal. In the case of Lorraine Kelly, she won her case on the basis by arguing she was a performer with a high degree of control over her show. As it was explained that “HMRC are on very uncertain ground here “. In addition, the case of Kaye Adams where the tax tribunal decided in favour of the presenter could also be used in the favour of Lineker as it was determined that her business interest were wide and varied.

How our firm can assist you with a tax investigation

HMRC will investigate fully your tax affairs if it is discovered that you are part of a tax avoidance scheme. In addition, HMRC may also:

  • Require upfront payment of the tax avoided: You may receive a tax bill called an accelerated payment notice. This is a requirement to pay the full amount of tax HMRC calculates as being due, upfront and within 90 days.
  • Take legal action
  • Treat you as a high-risk taxpayer: HMRC will closely scrutinise all your tax affairs in future, not just your use of the avoidance scheme.

If you are implicated in a tax avoidance scheme, it is imperative to seek legal advice early. The implications for tax avoidance are serious, potentially leading to a prison sentence. Contact our dedicated team of London Tax Solicitors and Barristers today for urgent and confidential advice.

Expert London Tax Investigation Lawyers

If you need HMRC Tax Investigation advice, we are available to aid you at every stage of the HMRC investigate process. Members of our legal team have first-hand experience and knowledge of the internal workings of HMRC. We can provide you with the very best representation in negotiations with HMRC and defending all forms of HMRC fraud, tax inquiry, tax fraud investigation, criminal tax evasion and HMRC enquiries and investigations. Our team specialises in successfully challenging HMRC decisions and will assist you in every aspect of the investigation.

Our specialist Tax Solicitors and Barristers deliver expert technical knowledge, strong negotiation skills and respected advice, which can make a pronounced difference to eventual tax penalties, charges and liability.

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