HMRC, the British version of the IRS, will target soccer players as part of its clampdown on tax evasion. In an effort to boost revenues, the British government has put together a 100-member "affluence team" to examine the taxes of the estimated 350,000 people whose personal wealth exceeds $3.95 million. Many Premier League players fit into that category.
In particular, HMRC is examining transfer deals in which players get their agents' fees paid by the buying club or a third party. "When a third party pays a fee to an agent acting on behalf of an employee," HMRC said in a statement, "the fee may count as part of the employee's taxable earnings and so be liable to tax."
"We do see that HMRC are more enthusiastically checking the tax affairs of those areas of society that are tax rich, like the oil companies and certain individuals who are tax rich with large incomes," said Derek Hill, a tax partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse. "Footballers are a prime example of that."