Tax evasion in football through offshore, WAGs and trusts? Surely not?

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Sporting Intelligence reports this morning that:

Leading football clubs are being heavily targeted by HMRC over perks afforded to players and WAGs  – partially because the taxman has already received information and tip-offs relating to major financial discrepancies at at least one top Premier League club, Sportingintelligence can reveal.

The finance directors at all Premier League were recently sent a questionnaire containing 181 questions looking closely into the financial affairs of the clubs and players, specifically the issue of perks, as HMRC looks to crack down on blatant abuses of the system.

And as they also note:

The sheer scale of the questionnaire has surprised even tax experts.

Sportingintelligence can exclusively reveal the questions from the questionnaire, including:

  • 4.14 Are any payments made into trusts or sub-trusts, whether in the UK or abroad, for which employees or family members are, or are potentially, the beneficiaries?
  • 1.2 Are any expenses paid, or benefits provided, to players’ or other employees’ spouses, partners or other family members, whether in the UK or abroad?
  • 11.6 Has the club paid any expenses relating to an employee’s private holiday costs? If so please provide details.
  • 11.7 Are there any circumstances where the cost of spouse travel will be paid for by the Company? If so please provide details.
  • 22.1 Are complimentary tickets, use of a box, etc. provided for employees?  If so please provide full details.

Sportingintelligence also understands the tax affairs of foreign players will come under greater scrutiny. In some cases players have been found not to have paid National Insurance contributions (NIC). Other questions asked:

  • 5.3 How does the club treat payments to foreign players for payroll purposes?
  • 4.2 What controls are in place to ensure that any amounts which are paid out are treated correctly for tax and NI purposes?

Quite right too.

Rumour has it there's not just smoke in this case, but a fire too. And tackling such issues in such a high profile way is wholly appropriate.

And there's much more in the article than the bits I've noted.