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Premier League clubs owed 14m to taxman in 2010

Thu 17th Mar 2011 | Money & Finance

Premier League Clubs owe more than £14m to the taxman according to a Freedom of Information inquiry (FOI).

The figures obtained by Sporting Intelligence from the FOI’s inquiry also revealed that clubs from the Championship and Leagues One and Two collectively owed around £8m in ‘simple’ taxes (PAYE, National Insurance and VAT).

The figures, taken from last tax year (April 2010) show that a combined £22m was owed to HMRC by the top 92 league clubs in the UK and that £8.6m in VAT alone was owed by the 20 clubs in the Premier League.

The FOI findings were used by fans’ group, Supporters Direct, during its submission to Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s enquiry into Football Governance.

Dave Boyle, the Supporters Direct chief executive speaking to Sporting Intelligence said: “Football clubs make great play of being engaged in their communities, but that rings hollow if clubs don’t contribute to their communities by paying their tax on time, especially in the current economic and fiscal climate.

“It’s important to recognise that the game has been making progress to tackle these issues, but these figures highlight how far there is to go. We think it’s yet another piece of evidence underscoring the need for a thorough-going licensing regime across the professional game and the Conference.”

  • Premier League (20 clubs) £14,407,106
  • Championship (24 clubs) £6,412,370
  • League One (24 clubs) £461,859
  • League Two (24 clubs) £534,242
  • Conference (68 clubs) £344,955

Dan Johnson, the Premier League’s head of communications said; “the Premier League’s starting position is that there should be no debt to HMRC, which is why we have introduced a raft of financial criteria to encourage clubs to run themselves in a responsible and sustainable manner.

“This includes quarterly reporting on any overdue HMRC payments and the ability to intervene if clubs get behind.

“When combined with HMRC’s new policy of, quite rightly, not permitting clubs to run up debts over time, this will more than mitigate this issue going forward.”

The figures will add weight to HMRC’s attempts to overturn the Football Creditors Rule (FCR) which see players and other football related creditor paid ahead of the taxman when clubs fall into financial difficulty.

Plymouth Argyle, the latest football club to fall into administration owe the approximately £280,000 to HMRC. However, the current rules stipulate that the clubs’ player and other clubs will be paid in full leaving non football creditors either unpaid or receiving only a small percentage of what they are owed.

In response to the latest FOI, the Football League’s head of communications John Nagle said: “This figure of £7.4m at the end of the last tax year actually gives a misleading impression of the true state of club finances. This is because it reflects the position at a single point in time during a season of significant transition in terms of clubs’ overall tax liabilities.

“In 2009, the Football League pioneered new financial regulations relating to tax payments. These provided the League with written permission to monitor the PAYE of its clubs directly with HMRC and impose transfer embargoes in instances where clubs fail to meet their tax debts as and when they fall due.”

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