During the course of this year a number of tax avoidance schemes used by Britain's top footballers and agents have been reported and highlighted in the media. Many people already believe these players are grossly overpaid, especially during such difficult economic times when many are struggling financially.
Footballers using avoidance schemes to further inflate their massive bank accounts may therefore appear avaricious and morally wrong but not everyone holds that opinion.
In September, Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the footballers' trades union, the Professional Footballers Association, defended the use of tax avoidance schemes within the sport. During an interview with Sky News, he made the point that players will lose half of their salaries in PAYE and that, on average, careers at the top of the game only last 8 years.
Many will not be surprised by Taylor's remarks, given that he is representing his members, but he is supported in his opinion by a senior tax accountant from a firm with offices in London and Manchester. He echoes Taylor's remarks regarding the short life expectancy of a footballers' career and believes they have used honest tax avoidance schemes to reduce their tax bills.
HMRC's war on tax evasion will bring them into direct conflict with players, agents and football clubs, especially as they enjoy rubbing shoulders with celebrities and making examples of them, where necessary. In this instance public sympathy may well be on the side of the Revenue?