Former England footballer and current Match of the Day presenter, Gary Lineker, is currently embroiled in an ongoing tax dispute with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) over his use of a company called Gary Lineker Media (GLM) to channel his earnings. Lineker, who is said to have earned millions of pounds during his footballing career and subsequent media work, has denied any wrongdoing, stating that GLM was set up for legitimate reasons and that he has always paid the appropriate amount of tax.
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The IR35 Rules and Lineker’s Case
Lineker’s lawyers have argued that HMRC is misinterpreting the law when it comes to investigating GLM. They claim that HMRC is attempting to apply a law known as the “IR35” rules to Lineker’s case, when in fact these rules are designed to apply to contractors rather than employees. The IR35 rules were introduced in 2000 to prevent “disguised employment”, where workers set themselves up as limited companies in order to avoid paying income tax and National Insurance contributions. However, Lineker’s lawyers argue that he was not a contractor but rather an employee of the BBC and other media organisations, and therefore the IR35 rules should not apply.
Lineker’s Past Tax Issues
This is not the first time that Lineker has been involved in a tax dispute with HMRC. In 2012, he was forced to pay £4.9 million in back taxes after being found to have used a tax avoidance scheme. Lineker has stated that he regrets using the scheme and has since taken steps to ensure that he pays his fair share of tax.
The Larger Issue of Tax Avoidance
The ongoing dispute between Lineker and HMRC highlights the larger issue of tax avoidance in the UK. According to a 2019 report by the Tax Justice Network, the UK is one of the world’s worst enablers of corporate tax abuse. The report estimated that the UK’s “tax haven network” costs other countries at least $300 billion a year in lost tax revenue. While Lineker has denied any wrongdoing, the case raises important questions about the effectiveness of current tax laws and the need for greater transparency and accountability when it comes to paying taxes.
What does the case highlight?
The ongoing tax dispute between Gary Lineker and HMRC is a complex issue that touches on a number of important questions about tax avoidance and the role of current tax laws. While Lineker’s lawyers argue that HMRC is looking in the wrong place when it comes to investigating his tax affairs, the case highlights the need for greater transparency and accountability when it comes to paying taxes. As the UK continues to grapple with issues of inequality and economic uncertainty, ensuring that everyone pays their fair share of tax is more important than ever.
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HMRC APPEAL DEADLINES – WARNING
HMRC decision letters containing penalties or imposing assessments offer time limited deadlines within which to appeal. Often these short deadlines (e.g. 30 days) can run from the date of the letter which means you have less time than you think. Your legal rights will become irreversibly time-barred if you fail to take legal action. Therefore, you should seek specific legal advice about your HMRC tax dispute at the very first opportunity so that you understand the time you have left. Failure to take advice or delay in taking action can be fatal to your prospects of success.