Frances Ball 26 Mar 2019 02:53pm

HMRC warns football agents over fraud investigations

HMRC has sent 1,900 agents a letter warning them of potential tax investigations following “serious allegations of fraud”

The Revenue is running new investigations into football transfer activity, and the fees that are paid to agents. It is already looking into payments made by 38 agents, 40 clubs, and 173 players.

It believes some agents may be fraudulently avoiding income tax on fees. In the 2017-18 season, Premier League clubs paid £211m in agent fees.

The Times reported that the letter, sent by HMRC’s deputy director Kerry Singleton, outlines HMRC’s concerns and states that it will scrutinise tax returns that show unrealistic amounts attributed as work for clubs or players.

A spokesperson for HMRC confirmed it was looking into the issue, largely to ensure tax law was being upheld over both VAT and income tax.

“HMRC is successfully tackling risks in the football industry, including image rights and agent fees, and has brought in £355m in additional revenue from its compliance activities since 2015,” they said.

“We carefully scrutinise the individual arrangements between football clubs, players and agents to make sure the correct tax is being paid in the UK.”

They added that HMRC has always been aware of the high risks in the football industry, stemming from the huge sums of money that flow through it.