Gary Lineker wins £4.9 million tax battle with HMRC over his employment status

Mr Lineker has insisted he has paid all taxes owed on his income. Credit: PA

Gary Lineker has won his £4.9 million tax battle with HMRC, after it claimed he should have been classed as an employee of the BBC and BT Sport for his presenting duties, rather than as a freelancer.

The Match Of The Day host, 62, was pursued by the tax authority for the sum, which it claimed should have been paid on income received between 2013 and 2018.

The case came as part of legislation known as IR35, which is designed to clampdown on tax avoidance by so-called disguised employees, who charge for their services via limited companies.

Throughout proceedings the TV presenter insisted all taxes were paid on the income, via a partnership set up in 2012 with his ex-wife, Danielle Bux.

Tribunal Judge John Brooks found the IR35 legislation did not apply because there were direct contracts between the presenter and both the BBC and BT Sport.

While Gary Lineker Media (GLM) was a partnership to which IR35 legislation applies, the appeal was still granted in full because contracts existed, the tribunal found.

HMRC is considering whether to appeal the decision, and has 56 days to make an application to the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) if it wishes to do so.

Mr Lineker is Match Of The Day's longest serving presenter. Credit: PA

The judge 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 client and the worker'.

"In this case Mr Lineker’s services were provided under direct contracts with the BBC and BT Sport.

"Although such a conclusion might appear inconsistent with my conclusions that the intermediaries legislation can apply to partnerships… that is not the case."

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He added that he could "dispose of the entire appeal in the appellants’ favour and the appeal is therefore allowed".

The case follows similar enquiries by the HMRC into other star broadcasters' tax affairs, including Lorraine Kelly and Kaye Adams.

Earlier tribunal documents said Mr Lineker disputed the bill and that it was agreed he paid the income tax in full.

Mr Lineker’s lawyer, James Rivett KC, told a preliminary hearing in London last month that the star had been "dragged through the papers accused of not paying income tax which has been paid", and claimed there was a political element to the investigations.

Following the ruling, an HMRC spokesperson said: "The tribunal has confirmed the off-payroll rules apply to partnerships, as we have always said.

"However, we do not agree with its decision that the rules cannot apply in this case and we’re considering an appeal. It is our duty to ensure everyone pays the right tax under the law, regardless of wealth or status."

Mr Lineker is Match of the Day’s longest-serving presenter and has been on the football show since the 1990s, following a successful football career.

He did not present the show for one day earlier this month after his tweet about the government’s Illegal Migration Bill sparked an impartiality row and then a boycott by his star sports programming peers over the BBC's handling of the saga.

He returned to the show the following week.

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