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UK Probes Footballers Over Image Rights Tax Abuses - Report

Robbie Lawther

24 October 2018

, the tax collector, has expanded its probe into footballers' tax issues, with around 200 players being probed for alleged abuses linked to image rights payments, according to the Daily Mail. The story follows a number of high-profile cases where players have fallen foul of rules.

Tax officials are examining 198 players at 44 Premier League and Football League clubs, as well as 29 agents.

Reports said that the number of players under investigation has risen from 181 in April, while the number of football agents under scrutiny has increased from 21 to 29 in the same period. The football investigation has now reached £329 million ($429 million) in extra tax for the Treasury, with several clubs having settled with the tax authorities during the year.

“HMRC carefully scrutinises the individual image rights arrangements between football clubs and their players to make sure the right tax is being paid in the UK. We are carrying out visits to every Premier League club and most football league clubs, along with their players. We're currently making enquiries into 198 footballers, 44 football clubs and 29 agents for a range of issues, including image rights abuse. HMRC rigorously enforces the rules and has brought in £329 million in extra tax by tackling non-compliance in the football industry," the organisation was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Clubs and players net more income through image rights as they are taxed at lower rates than money paid through PAYE. The football sector and HMRC have an understanding that players should not receive more than 20 per cent of their pay through image rights.

This comes at a time when tax authorities all around the world, including the Spanish tax authorities, are making sure that the correct taxes are being paid for image rights.  This publication published a round-up of stories on the issues surrounding football and tax.