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Footballers join class action after tax scheme losses

Action group set up for footballers and other celebrities who have lost millions through unauthorised tax avoidance schemes.

 
Footballers join class action after tax scheme losses

Law firm Withers has a launched class action for footballers who face losing millions from investing in tax avoidance schemes.

The action group, which is open to other high profile, affluent celebrities caught up in these schemes, is being led by Tessa Lorimer, special counsel in Withers’ tax investigations team, and litigation partner Roberto Moruzzi.

The pair will work with action group specialists Litigation Management, which will provide funding and administrative expertise.

The news comes as football stars explore their options after a clampdown by HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) on tax avoidance schemes.

HMRC has set an April 2016 deadline for investors in these schemes to repay any tax deemed to be avoided, with the tax office aiming to have reclaimed tax from around 33,000 individuals by this date.

HMRC is publishing information about their disclosure of tax avoidance schemes on its website and in many cases individuals and companies are issued with accelerated payment notices to ensure that the disputed tax is paid up front.   

At the end of last year it emerged that a host of retired footballers lost more than £100 million through a film investment scheme that was sold through advisory firm Kingsbridge Asset Management.

The scheme was said to have at least 100 footballers on its books, including former Manchester United and England stars Rio Ferdinand and Andy Cole, ex-Arsenal players Kevin Campbell and Martin Keown, and Match of the Day pundits Danny Murphy (pictured) and Robbie Savage.

Murphy (pictured) said he felt ‘angry’ after claiming he was mis-sold the scheme, while Campbell, who has filed for bankruptcy after losing £7 million, said: ‘when I see the paper work, it’s horrendous.’

It has since emerged that a number of English cricket stars, including Ashes heroes Andrew Flintoff and former captain Michael Vaughan, also lost fortunes investing in film schemes.

Withers believes that these investors have a stronger case than most in claiming they were mis-sold these investments as they should never have been targeted by promoters in the first place.

‘Many footballers were targeted by promoters of marketed avoidance schemes as they are high earners who often rely on the advice of others to manage their finances,’ Lorimer said.

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7 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Feb 08, 2016 at 17:35

Footballers had a choice.

Pay their taxes according to the rules applicable to the rest of us or try to avoid tax via such schemes.

The risks of unauthorised schemes being ruled invalid were obvious and they have only themselves to blame.

report this

Pikey

Feb 08, 2016 at 17:40

Easy come, easy go

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Andy W

Feb 08, 2016 at 17:41

quote -

"Withers believes that these investors have a stronger case than most in claiming they were mis-sold these investments as they should never have been targeted by promoters in the first place.

‘Many footballers were targeted by promoters of marketed avoidance schemes as they are high earners who often rely on the advice of others to manage their finances,’ Lorimer said."

I'm sorry, but being thick as two short planks whilst earning £hundreds-of-thousands a week, is no defence.

They will have been sold these schemes as a way to avoid paying tax, and they'll have jumped at the chance.

report this

P.Colmer

Feb 08, 2016 at 17:42

If these so called celebrities signed as being " sophisticated" investors without being so, they deserve all they get. All they are being asked for is the tax they should have paid in the first place had they not been so greedy.

Pay up, look big, and don't do it again!

report this

David Andrews

Feb 08, 2016 at 17:58

"‘A group action is a better strategy for these sports people to try and recoup some of their lost investments. "

I am puzzled about what they are attempting. Is it to recoup losses from some FSA/similar pot because they have been mis-advised or trying to get HMRC penalties cancelled ?

Being "celebrities" I suppose the likely answer is probably both.

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S_M

Feb 14, 2016 at 09:17

If footballers engaged in putting their money in regulated investments rather than trying to avoid tax every way possible, then not only could they hold onto their wealth but actually get some sympathy from the wider investment community.

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David Jacobs

Feb 15, 2016 at 16:56

It's not only footballers who have been hit by HMRC they have gone for employee benefit trusts as well & also back dated the fines to when it was started in this case 2009 /2010 a scheme that has been in going for many years !

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