According to the Times, HM Revenue & Customs has set its sights on a number of high-earning Premier League footballers who receive image rights payments.
The paper claims current arrangements allow players to avoid paying an estimated £100 million a year in tax for off-field earnings by receiving payments indirectly via service companies they own.
The players’ companies pay corporation tax, but only at rates of 21% or 28%.
Overseas players have even more to gain from the status quo: many own service companies based abroad – for example, in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands – which allows them to avoid paying even more UK tax.
Recently, in the case between Proactive Sports Agency and Wayne Rooney, the court heard the player receives £760,000 a year for his image rights.
Given Rooney currently sits a little lower on the football pay scale than a number of his England teammates, it’s conceivable that the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Rio Ferdinand earn £1 million or more a year in image rights payments.
** Additional info & advice on UK tax law **
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