HMRC is reportedly looking to pursue Gary Lineker, a television personality and former England footballer, in court for a tax bill of £4.9m.
According to The Times, Lineker, who hosts BBC’s ‘Match of Day’ sports programme owes £3.62m in income tax and £1.31m in national insurance – because he should have been taxed as a direct employee of the broadcasting company.
However, it is understood that the ex-footballer has worked as a contractor through Gary Lineker Media, a company set up in 2012 jointly with his ex-wife Danielle Bux – meaning the range of work he does could be classed as freelance and in turn pay a lower rate of tax.
The case argues that Lineker breached IR35 tax rules, which were introduced in the UK in April 2000 and designed to clamp down on “disguised employment”.
A spokesman for Lineker told the outlet that the “true tax bill” he faced was much smaller than HMRC’s declared total because he had “paid much of it already”. It has been reported that a date for the court tribunal has not yet been set.
This is the second high-profile case surrounding BBC celebrities and HMRC.
In February, Kaye Adams won a case against HMRC regarding her employment status after the authority claimed that her personal company should have used IR35 tax rules when working for the BBC.
At the time, it was argued that she should pay more than £81,000 in tax and £44,000 in National Insurance from work she did for the media group.
Speaking to Accountancy Today, an HMRC spokesperson said: “We do not comment on identifiable taxpayers or ongoing legal proceedings. HMRC has recently won a number of important cases, including at the Upper Tribunal, which set a useful precedent and give welcome clarity to taxpayers and HMRC alike.”