HMRC to appeal Gary Lineker IR35 case

Gary Lineker’s lawyers have told a legal hearing that a tax inquiry into the footballer’s finances has been “looking in the wrong place”.

After losing the argument over Gary Lineker’s employment status, HMRC plans to appeal the ruling at the Upper Tribunal

The First Tier Tribunal ruled in favour of Lineker in March this year, after he appealed a tax demand from HMRC for unpaid tax of £4.9m related to earnings between 2013 and 2018 for TV presenter work for the BBC and BT Sport.

In total, HMRC is pursuing Lineker for £3,621,735.90 in income tax and £1,313,755.38 in national insurance contributions (NICs).

The litigation involved the IR35 intermediaries legislation which is designed to clamp down on contractors who charge for their services through personal service companies.

Lineker provided his services via a partnership through Gary Lineker Media LLP and this type of arrangement was not covered by the IR35 rules. Unless the rules are changed retrospectively it would seem unlikely that HMRC could win the argument.

At the First Tier Tribunal, Judge John Brooks said: ‘As a matter of law when Mr Lineker signed the 2013 BBC contract, the 2015 BBC contract and the BT Sport contract for the provision of his services, he did so as principal thereby contracting directly with the BBC and BT Sport.

‘As such, the intermediaries legislation cannot apply – it is only applicable ‘where services are provided not under a contract directly between the client and the worker’. In this case, Mr Lineker’s services were provided under direct contracts with the BBC and BT Sport.’