Soccer-Lineker wins appeal over 4.9 million pounds tax bill

FILE PHOTO: Football presenter Gary Lineker walks outside his home in London, Britain, March 13, 2023. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

(Reuters) - Sports presenter Gary Lineker won his appeal against Britain's tax authority (HMRC) on Tuesday over a bill that totalled 4.9 million pounds ($6.03 million).

Lineker, who presents BBC's 'Match of the Day' and also worked on BT Sport's coverage, was pursued by the HMRC over taxes on income from both broadcasters from 2013-14 to 2017-18.

The HMRC said he was an employee of both BBC and BT Sport at the time but a judge ruled the 62-year-old was a freelancer and had contracts with both broadcasters.

"The effect of my conclusions is that because there were direct contracts, between the BBC and Mr Lineker and BT Sport and Mr Lineker, the intermediaries legislation (IR35) does not, and cannot as a matter of law, apply," Tribunal Judge Brooks said in a statement.

"Accordingly, and notwithstanding GLM (Gary Lineker Media)being a partnership, that is the end of the matter and the appeal succeeds."

Lineker had said his taxes were paid through his media firm GLM which was set up in 2012 along with his ex-wife Danielle Bux, who was also an appellant.

"I am pleased that the Tribunal has endorsed my contention that I have not failed to pay any taxes or National Insurance by reason of the IR35 rules," the former England striker said on Twitter.

Lineker made headlines earlier this month when he was suspended by the BBC for criticising government immigration policy caused a row over the broadcaster's impartiality rules.

BBC managers reversed their decision to suspend Lineker, the broadcaster's highest-paid presenter, after his colleagues refused to work in solidarity, forcing it to air Match of the Day's soccer highlights without normal commentary.

($1 = 0.8124 pounds)

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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