UK tax inspectors are clamping down on some of the Premier League's highest-earning footballers over a controversial tax avoidance scheme.
Players are exploiting income tax charges by taking advantage of loopholes in the UK's complex tax system.
Leading newspapers have claimed the full amount saved by the stars could be costing the Treasury as much as £100m.
Players are being advised by tax experts to move payments into their own companies and write off the money as 'image rights' earnings.
Players are backed by their clubs who allow their stars to sign two contracts: One, the playing contract and the other for image rights.
Setting up a player-controlled image rights company can legally save players paying the 50 per cent top rate income tax charge. Instead the money in the image rights company is eligible for corporation tax at only 28 per cent.
Players can also legally take out loans from their own companies which they are eligible for only 2 per cent tax.
A number of top England international stars involved in the scheme and who have made massive tax savings include Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and Arsenal's Theo Walcott.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have confirmed they are looking at players' companies as part of their probe into image rights and tax avoidance.
A spokesperson for HMRC said in the Guardian: "We are aware of the attempts to use image rights as well as other schemes to avoid the 50 per cent rate of tax. The taxation of image rights is a complex area where the tax treatment will very much depend on the facts of the particular case."
Top footballers tax avoidance scheme (Guardian)
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