The complexity surrounding Gary Lineker’s disputed £4.9m IR35 tax bill – which was heard at a preliminary hearing for a first-tier tax tribunal last week – is a reflection of the confusion and ambiguity of the IR35 legislation and employment status rules, expert Qdos have said.
In 2021, it was revealed that HMRC was pursuing Gary Lineker for income tax and national insurance amounting to £4.9m, which the tax office claimed was unpaid as a result of the presenter working as a disguised employee while engaged by the BBC and BT Sport between 2013 and 2018.
Lineker, who was operating via a partnership (Gary Lineker Media) set up with his ex-wife, Danielle Bux, is contesting this. The presenter’s argument is that he entered into these contracts personally – his company was not engaged by the BBC or BT Sport. If this is accepted, the IR35 legislation is not a consideration and instead, the BBC and BT Sport would be liable for missing tax, not Lineker.
HMRC disagree and the Judge, having now been presented with both sides of the argument, will return with a draft decision in the coming months.
Qdos CEO Seb Maley, said, “This is one of the most high-profile IR35 cases in history yet nobody can seem to agree if this case even relates to the IR35 legislation. It’s staggering.
“The situation Gary Lineker finds himself in just goes to show how complex the tax system is. It’s archaic. Take IR35 for example – it’s based on decades-old case law that doesn’t reflect modern ways of working. It’s not fit for purpose.
“And let’s not forget, the government still plans to shut down the Office of Tax Simplification, which is alarming. Not that HMRC cares, though. Confusion over employment status often works in the tax office’s favour but at a huge financial and mental cost to the often innocent individuals and businesses being pursued.”