The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has published an interview between Gordon Taylor, Chief Executive of the PFA and HMRC's Director of Counter-Avoidance, warning players of the dangers of tax avoidance and explaining how they can get out of such schemes.
Hundreds of players and ex-professionals are facing huge tax bills after putting money into tax avoidance schemes, many of which HMRC has challenged and defeated in the courts.
The PFA approached HMRC last summer to help players get the right information about avoidance, and the PFA has been reproducing information from HMRC. The interview, aimed at PFA members, is the next stage of this education programme. It is also part of the work HMRC has been doing over the past two years to encourage all avoidance users to get out of avoidance and to deter new users, including publications like Tempted by Tax Avoidance, Spotlights and Ten Things.
The interview explains how players can spot a tax avoidance scheme and what to do if they think they’re in one – contact HMRC as early as possible for help getting out of the scheme. In the interview, HMRC explains some of the indications of an avoidance scheme, concluding: “The reality is that these schemes don’t work. There’s a reason they look too good to be true – it’s because they are.”
An HMRC spokesman said:
“Footballers are no different to thousands of others who have been given dodgy advice from tax avoidance scheme promoters. And it's just as true for players in lower-league clubs as the super-earners.
“We warn everyone in this situation that they could find themselves facing a life-changing bill of tax, interest, penalties and the promoter’s fees. Our message to anyone who finds themselves in an avoidance scheme is the same: it's time to get out of avoidance. Call us now or visit our website.”
Gordon Taylor, OBE, Chief Executive of the PFA, said:
“Working with the HMRC on advising footballers on the dangers of tax avoidance schemes is a significant step. The PFA can always be the first port of call for all our members on all types of issues particularly in regards to tax avoidance schemes.
“Developing a relationship with HMRC is key, so footballers know exactly where they stand, what is solid, what is sound and what doesn’t hold up to promises that are made.
“I urge players to get in touch for advice if they are not sure that things are right and between the PFA and the HRMC we will do all we can to make life a lot easier.”
Contact HMRC or the PFA
Members to access the HMRC helpline please click here.