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Jun 19, 2009
'Football clubs who refuse to pay tax owed should be relegated two divisions'

MPs today called on the Government to “name and shame” 10 professional football clubs in England who owe the Treasury what could be millions of pounds in taxes. One member of the influential Commons Treasury committee even called for clubs who fail to pay up to be relegated two divisions in the football league.

Officials would not reveal which teams were being chased or say exactly how much they owed, but they did confirm to the Evening Standard that all the clubs were in arrears with PAYE. The amount owed will likely run into millions, as clubs in England were liable for £780 million in PAYE last year. John Mann, the Labour MP for Bassetlaw who sits on the committee and uncovered the debts, said: “They should be forced to pay up and if they refuse they should be threatened with dropping down two divisions. Everyone else is expected to pay taxes so why shouldn’t football clubs? The Government should name and shame them. It also gives these teams an unfair advantage over other clubs who do the right thing and pay their taxes.”

A spokesman for HM Revenue and Customs said: “Paying the right tax on time should be at the centre of a football club’s business strategy just as it should be for any other enterprise.” The football clubs now become the latest organisations to get caught in the furore over taxes.

Executives from Google, Amazon and Starbucks have been grilled by the Commons public accounts committee over their tax arrangements, and Labour has been accused of helping a wealthy supporter to avoid tax on a £1.65 million donation.
No more bank of HMRC for Southend if this goes through!