Footballers perks to be investigated by HMRC

Accountants in London may be interested to learn that the taxman is investigating the secret perks football clubs provide their players and families.

HMRC has sent questionnaires to 24 clubs asking them to provide details of the benefits and luxury gifts they have bestowed on their players.

The questionnaire responses will be cross-referenced against the individual income tax returns provided by the stars to establish whether players have understated their tax liability or clubs need to pay additional National Insurance contributions.

An HMRC spokesman explained that the players they are targeting are multi-millionaires and regardless of where they come from, they have to pay tax on the money they earn in the UK.

The Revenue will be looking at perks such as company cars, first class flights, health care and holidays as well as the usage of club credit cards for personal purchases. The spokesman also said that inspectors would be checking to make sure clubs declared the tax on payments made to players who appeared on the club’s TV station.

Football clubs have to pay National Insurance contributions on benefits or expenses they provide for their employees, usually at a rate of 12% of the value of the benefit. There are a whole host of benefits that football players get that ordinary employees do not, but they all class as taxable benefits.

However, Chas Roy-Chowdhury from the ACCA said HMRC might find it difficult to enforce the rules as clubs and players dispute exactly what constitutes a benefit in kind.

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