HMRC has informed over 40 football clubs and 170 professional football players that they are under tax investigation in relation to their tax affairs. Furthermore, 31 agents have also been notified that their tax affairs are being looked into as part of the wide-reaching investigation.
A spokesperson for HMRC said "we carefully scrutinise the individual arrangements between football clubs and their players to make sure the right tax is being paid in the UK. HMRC is currently making enquiries into 171 footballers, 44 football clubs and 31 agents for a range of issues, including image rights abuse."
The investigation comes on the back of the establishment of HMRC's specialist Football Compliance Project back in 2017 which was tasked with the role of overseeing all compliance activities in the UK football industry. So far, the project has recouped more than £332 million.
The project has however come under scrutiny for increasingly becoming a fishing expedition to catch players out over image rights payments.
Nick Hall from UHY Hacker Young said "HMRC sees the football industry as another potential cash cow and is coming down hard on players and clubs. HMRC's focus on the football industry has been sharpened since a 2017 House of Commons report concluded that tax avoidance in the sport was becoming widespread."
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