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HMRC target Gary Lineker in £4.9m IR35 case 

Match of the Day host is the latest celebrity to be caught up in IR35 case

HMRC is pursuing former England football star and TV presenter, Gary Lineker, with a tax bill of £4.9million under the IR35 regulations.

The tax watchdog claims Lineker owed £3,621,735.90 in Income Tax and £1,307,160.46 in National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for work undertaken between 2013 to 2018.

The ex-England striker was contracted by the BBC to host Match of the Day and by BT Sport to cover the Champion’s League through his company – Gary Lineker Media (GLM) – which he set up with his ex-wife Danielle Buxton in 2012.

HMRC argues that Lineker’s contracts with both the BBC and BT Sport were one of employer and employee and fell inside the scope of IR35. The tax authority is therefore of the opinion that he should be liable for Income Tax and NICs.

According to The Telegraph, due to Lineker’s company being a partnership, if the pundit loses his appeal, he will not have to pay the full £4.9m in tax, with tax already paid during the period being offset against it. The true figure is thought to be under £1m. 

Gary Lineker may have been ‘told’ to work as freelancer

Lineker has been disputing the bill for over a year, but the case came to the fore in documents relating to his appeal at a tribunal last week. He is the latest star to be hit with a high tax bill under the IR35 legislation, which was recently reformed.

ITV presenter Eamonn Holmes lost his IR35 tax tribunal over a £250,000 tax bill late last year. However, Lorraine Kelly and Kaye Adams won their tribunals against HMRC in recent years.

Seb Maley, CEO at Qdos, said that while this is not the first time HMRC has pursued a high-profile TV presenter and “nor will it be the last”, the “irony is that Gary Lineker may have been told by the BBC to work through a limited company.”

“It might not have been his choice, as was the case with several other BBC freelancers who HMRC have targeted in recent years,” he explained. 

Maley also had little faith in HMRC’s grasp of IR35: “HMRC’s understanding of the IR35 rules and their track record in tribunals leaves a lot to be desired. 

“So I wouldn’t be too surprised if it’s found that Lineker is genuinely self-employed and HMRC have got things wrong yet again.”

IR35 rules ‘needlessly and damagingly complex’

Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at self-employment trade body IPSE, added that Lineker was “targeted because of the needlessly and damagingly complex IR35 rules.” 

He said: “The problem here is not that Lineker has done something wrong, or that HMRC are trying to enforce tax legislation – it is the rules themselves. They are so complex and so open to interpretation that no one understands them, even HMRC, which is why they so frequently lose at tribunal. 

“The recent changes to the off-payroll rules, which have been hugely controversial and costly for business, have done nothing to address this central and critical flaw.”

Lineker’s agent, Jon Holmes, told the Telegraph: “GLM is a partnership in which Danielle Bux was a minority partner. He has paid all personal tax. The amount [owed] is notional and disputed. Gary remains a self-employed contractor for several organisations.”

By Contractor Weekly

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38 thoughts on “HMRC target Gary Lineker in £4.9m IR35 case ”

  1. Gary Andrews

    As said previously, Lineker is an international footballing legend with a deserved reputation for integrity and fair play. This case has the potential to shine a floodlight onto HMRCs endless lying, bullying and persecution of small businesses. Here is a respected personality with resources and a platform able to defend himself, not just an insignificant small business owner with a large mortgage and a family to support.

    We all saw him take those penalties in the world cup, balls bigger than King Kong. Contrast that with the backroom weasels of the revenue, using other people’s money to persecute easy wins through lies, manipulation and the misinformed court of public opinion.

    Two questions need answering:
    1) Would Lineker have been prosecuted if he were a high profile Brexiter?
    2) Is this a political show trial?

    • David McCann

      No sure it’s because of his stance on Brexit. More likely it’s because he is so high-profile.

      Ironically, though, it may be his outspokeness which will get him off the hook – unlike other BBC personalities he’s ignored guidelines about keeping quiet on political matters on social media. So he could claim that that is evidence of lack of D&C, an indicator of being outside of IR35!

      • Darren Bradstock

        Of course he is an employee of the BBC just because he is in front if the camera doesn’t make him any different to the director. This a prime example of disguised employment. These are the people the HMRC should be going after because we are talking millions in lost taxes, not the guy in the street earning £30 an hour and working all the hours he can to support his family. Leave the ordinary people out of it.

        • Gary Andrews

          The ordinary people are in it already, this case is simply aimed at making high profile case law intended for them.

          The devil is in the detail of IR35 regulations brought force on April 6th.

    • Graham Collins

      Confusing. Is he a contractor working through a limited company, through a partnership or as a self employed individual? All three are mentioned in the article. Surely he can’t have all 3 statuses?

      • Gary Andrews

        Multiple employments are confusing under current legislation. This is how the revenue PR machine can spin whatever story they like about you in their PR briefings.

        What a shame they don’t put as much effort into making and applying the actual law.

        But I believe Lineker is now an employee of the BBC but still has his own limited company for other engagements. Not yet a crime but obviously now open to government interpretation with IR35.

        A quick call to Johnson’s mobile might have solved this problem for some.

  2. Biggus Dickus

    Good news! He’s one of the most nauseating virtue signalling tw@ts on the planet.

    • Gary Andrews

      Ahh the go to phrases of the alt-right looking to prosecute a culture war when reasoned debate is beyond them.

    • XY

      Agreed Biggus, it couldn’t happen to a nicer chap 😉

      Unfortunately he’ll probably get off the hook because he was working for a number of clients simultaneously…

      Not that that should make a difference in reality – it just happens to be one of the daft “tests” they made up to try to wring some more tax out of people who have no-one to defend them, unlike the Amazons of this world.

      • Gary Andrews

        XY/Dickus – Nice of you to agree with your sock puppet selves.

        Sentiments here of “he’ll probably get off the hook because …” he doesn’t actually owe the tax.
        It could be you next.

  3. John Wilson

    Not only the rules which are a mess, but the Revenue’s never ending attempt to forcibly bent them in their own favour wherever possible. As for personalities, I’m not a big fan of Mr Lineker as such, but this isn’t about personalities. I don’t have any problem with a presenter potentially being a Freelancer, particularly if they are engaged for their personality and style, and not simply a “talking parrot” told what to say. When I look at some of the cases brought up in articles like this in recent times, I think there are a lot of ordinary tradesfolk arguably caught by the rules in principle in HMRC’s interpretation (which would be a ridiculous scenario in my view). I’m still of a mind to argue that a root and branch review is needed on employment status to try and reach a position where the number of grey areas is reduced. I don’t see that happening though as it’s keeping a large chunk of HMRC staff employed pursuing all these claims….

  4. Biggus Dickus

    Get back to work Gary, you need the money. Damn slackers!

    • Gary Andrews

      Dickus – Hope you can get back to spending your golden pension on a cruise ship in the Med sometime soon.
      Don’t worry us heavy taxpayers will fund your luxury retirement.

  5. Biggus Dickus

    That’s very kind of you Gary but I really don’t need the help, my SIPP is full. I’ve been paying very little tax for years (full contribution into my SIPP each year, use my tax allowance and expenses and then take the rest of the year off). I’ve now given up contracting and just do my own thing. The state pension will be very handy for beer money though when it kicks in, 17 years yet though.

    • Gary Andrews

      Pull the ladder up, Dickus is onboard.
      Or is that juicy unfunded final salary pension I see you hiding there?

  6. Biggus Dickus

    It’s a SIPP. Do you not know the difference? I spent most of my career contracting and being hounded by the parasites that run this country – who no doubt do have final salary pension schemes.

    • Gary Andrews

      So why support the same unscrupulous hounding of others?

      • XY

        Gazza, try to stop being a Grade A, green-eyed pl*nker will you?

      • Biggus Dickus

        I don’t, unless you’re a nauseating tw@t like Gary Lineker and then I can’t help thinking haha serves you right. I’ve no doubt that if it was somebody else he would be leading the charge in shaming them for being tax avoiders. People like him are all the same.

        • Gary Andrews

          “People like him are all the same”?
          We could literally say that about you and your alter ego XY.

          • Biggus Dickus

            Yes, they are mostly. ‘Woke’ I believe is the term or ‘bellend’ in my world.

            You’re free to ‘literally’ say anything you like about me. I’m not bothered by words.

          • Gary Andrews

            Yes I can see words aren’t your strong point but you know that “woke” is just a Trumpian term for fairness?

            You’ve swallowed so much Facebook bile you’re opposing fairness.

  7. Biggus Dickus

    It’s not a term for fairness. It’s a term that in reality refers to a bunch of brainwashed people who are think they are being fair while actually being the complete opposite. Useful idiots is what they are. You are one of them but you are incapable of seeing it as your small brain is cannot go there. Just referring to a ‘Trumpian’ term says so much about you. I could tell you your views on any number of things such is the extent of the brainwashing.

    I’ve never been on FB. It’s full of morons like yourself.

    Now, I believe I told you earlier to get back to work as you need the money.

    • Gary Andrews

      So Dickus, you are saying that tax laws should be enforced differently based on the taxpayers political allegiance.

      Then you must be very happy with the current system, but remember, one day you won’t be in the VIP lane with Mr Handcock.

      • Biggus Dickus

        Er, where on Earth do I say or even imply that?

        Has anybody ever called you a completely brainless numpty before Gary?

        Let’s be honest here, they have, haven’t they Gary? Tell the truth now.

        • Gary Andrews

          You seem to be angry at the wrong people. IF in fact, you ever were a contractor.

          • Biggus Dickus

            You make a lot of assumptions Gary.

            I’m not angry at anybody.

            Disliking Gary Lineker and other ‘woke’ people does not necessarily make you angry.

            You can still find a tax law unfair but find it amusing that that somebody you dislike has fallen foul of it.

            You see how it works Gary. It’s called logic. If you work in IT you should really be a bit more familiar with it.

          • Gary Andrews

            That’s exactly how these populists gain support to legislate against our own interests. Everyone thinks that some other (disliked) group will suffer.

            A lot of people who thought they were part of the con now discovering that they were the marks.

  8. Gary's mum

    Gary, I told you to tidy up your room and put that blowup doll away. They’ll be no pocket money for you until you do so.

  9. Biggus Dickus

    My final words on the matter Gary.

    I agree that taxation should be applied equally.

    UNLESS it’s Gary Lineker.

    I bet all this is just cos you’re called Gary as well and you think you’re next cos they’ve got up to G in the alphabet.

  10. Gary's Dad

    Gary its bed time. Turn off the BBC and log-off Facebook please. Night.

  11. Gary's Aunt

    Gary get off that doll!

  12. Bradley

    I personally find Gary Lineker annoying and I don’t like football but some contractors on here missing the point. IR35 prosecutions now are about setting legal precedents so when HMRC opens an enquiry against a contractor they won’t need to go to court. They will just demand a hugely exaggerated sum based on this high profile win adding fines and interest. For those paying attention HMRC have been doing this sort of thing for years even where case law is slightly irrelevant. Unlike Gary Lineker, if you are a normal contractor you could end up losing your life savings, pension, career and house.
    Contractors need to stop arguing and start backing any of us faced with IR35 enquiries because you will subsequently be taxed by that same judgment. Where has being woke or owning the libs got you so far, it’s the case law that’s important.

  13. The_T

    Biggus Dickus clearly been watching far too much Life of Brian, and Carry on Cleo (1964) in your retirement on your Gin Palace.

    Tech Billionaire; I doubt it.

    More Carry on up the Khyber !!!

    As already stated by Bradley & GA; this is about establishing Case Law, via the TV Times.

    First Eamon Holmes, then HMRC vs Kaye Adams 2021 which was a spectacular humiliation for HMRC. Now Gary Lineker.

    • Biggus Dickus

      That Lineker, he’s a very naughty boy!

      Not sure when contractors are going to get it really – you cannot win. They do not care about fairness and they make the rules. IR35 has been going over twenty years now. They’ve had umpteen opportunities over multiple Governments to engage their small brains and rewrite it to something fairer and more comprehensible. They have chosen instead to keep on closing the net.

      My way out was to stuff my pension in my final years of contracting and retire early. If I was younger I’d have gone permie. The stress of living under the sword just isn’t worth it in my opinion and I did exactly that for twenty years which I believe now in hindsight was a mistake.

      They’re not going to give up until you are all permie and Rishi’s father in law (Head of Infosys) has the market wide open for all them cheap Indians.

      They’re relentless, like the Terminator, duh duh da da duh

  14. David Smith

    So…Leicester won the FA cup just now. I suggest he goes on the piss right now (as I’m sure he wants to) and then tells BBC he’ll send Jermaine Jenas in tonight to present MOTD. Bung Jermaine a few quid for doing it as a favour and Bob’s your uncle he’s satisfied the “right of substitution” test.

  15. The_T

    Not to mention shooting a couple of Walkers Crisps Adverts. Clearly working for multiple Clients, referred to in HMRC vs Kaye Adams 2021 as trading “On your own Account”.

    The Acid test is the turnover mix of Gary Lineker Enterprises Ltd. Over the last 2 years what percentage of that Turnover is derived from the BBC. If 100% then probably Inside IR35, but even then there may be mitigating circumstances, if less than 80%, then certainly Outside IR35.

    The Substitution Rules apply to presenting a specific edition of MOTD, which is “Time Critical”. What HMRC fail to appreciate is that most well managed projects build in Contingencies so if a Contractor chooses to celebrate an event, such as Uri smashing the ball into the top left hand corner in the FA Cup Final, then the Contingency is consumed and no Substitute is required.

    This is why the Supreme Court should just dismiss this case and consign IR35 to the trash can.

  16. David aitken

    As usual, we are not privy to all of the facts, like, what percentage tax has he paid on earnings on any random tax year. That information would help me decide, has he avoided paying his share of income tax, or not !

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