Lineker’s BBC Defiance Could Be About Swerving His £5 Million Tax Bill mdi-fullscreen

Gary Lineker is unrepentant about his blatant breaches of BBC impartiality rules. In spite of the media storm, a cheery Lineker yesterday doubled down on his comments, which now form part of a well-established pattern. Guido wonders if Gary has a good reason to defy his BBC employers…

HMRC are currently pursuing Lineker for £4.9 million in unpaid income taxes. Gary is paid through a partnership, HMRC claim he should be classed as an employee – his hefty tax bill is a result of the difference. Gary displaying his independence could be to show the taxman that he is no ordinary employee…

A tax lawyer, quoted on the case in The Guardian in 2021, said:

“He will have to produce evidence that shows he is genuinely an independent contractor, that he is not controlled, he’s not supervised, he’s not effectively managed… Fundamentally the test is: if you did not have the service company in the way, would he look like an employee of the people he’s working for?”

Gary may have some problems because some of the criteria for “are you really an employee?” are difficult for him:

  • Can you work for competitors? (ITV, Sky Sports)
  • Do you have to follow instructions? (e.g., from a director)
  • Do you use their tools and equipment? (cameras, studios)
  • Can you send someone else to do the work in your place?

By these criteria he is probably a quasi-employee of the BBC. Defying BBC rules and keeping his contract might counter-evidence HMRC’s view that he’s effectively an employee. Fair play to Gary, everyone is entitled to arrange their affairs to minimise their taxes…

mdi-tag-outline BBC Guardian
mdi-account-multiple-outline Gary Lineker
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