Its a Saturday afternoon. 3:14pm to be exact. And in the red and white are HMRC, while the Premier League are in all blue.
“And its a GOAL!” shouts the commentator. “1-0 to HMRC. The Premier League didn’t even see that one coming.”
No doubt there are going to be more twists and turns to this match. And there will no doubt be a lot of pies and shandies sold at half time. But for now we are going to focus on HMRC scoring the first goal…
£330 million pounds to be exact. That is how much HMRC have received from Premier League clubs this year.
“Back Of The Net!” said one pundit.
That is £330 million pounds in avoided tax, according to HMRC, and now that cash is safely in their bank account where it should be, according to them.
A total of 171 players were under investigation, mainly around dodgy “image right payments” which have been made between players and clubs.
Basically, it is thought players and their agents were using these “image right payments” to avoid paying the correct amount of tax, although HMRC were quick to pounce and take action.
“We carefully scrutinise the individual arrangements between football clubs and their players to make sure the right tax is being paid in the UK,” – commented a spokesperson for HMRC.
One of the players who started off the avalanche of “image right payments” is a certain Mr Wayne Rooney.
In 2010, while playing for Manchester United, Mr Wayne Rooney and his agent and accountant had an idea.
“Let’s charge Mr Ferguson £760,000 for your image rights,” said the agent.
“Sounds good to me,” replied Mr Rooney.
“I will run that through the books,” said the accountant.
Of course, this is a basic and shortened version of what may or may not have happened, and as far as we are concerned Mr Wayne Rooney is innocent and way out of this now anyway…plying his trade and playing brilliantly in Washington DC. He deserves every penny over there, if you ask us.
So why would football players want to bother with separate “image right payments” anyway? The main reason is because they set-up a different company to receive these payments…a company which is only taxed at 19% compared to the standard tax rate on wages.
My advice to footballers and any contractors or freelancers reading this. Get yourself a trustworthy accountant and make sure you do everything above board.