Millionaire footballers exposed as the latest tax dodgers

England's top footballers have become the latest high-profile individuals to be named and shamed as tax dodgers, reports Shamik Das.

England’s top footballers have become the latest high-profile individuals to be named and shamed as tax dodgers. Wayne Rooney alone avoided paying nearly £600,000, with Gareth Barry shirking more than £135,000 in taxes. Today’s Mirror also names Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Theo Walcott, David James, Michael Owen, Andy Carroll and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.

Rooney, who is believed to be on more than £200,000 a week, faced a £623,000 bill on a slice of his earnings – but ended up paying only £25,000.

The Mirror reports:

“The Man United idol, 25, paid himself £1.6million through his image rights firm, incurring a measly 2% tax – even though the top rate was then 40%. England team-mate Gareth Barry, 29, paid just £6,000 tax on £373,000 when he might have been hit by a £142,000 Inland Revenue bill.

“They are among dozens of super-rich footballers who have parts of their wages paid into image rights companies. Some then pay themselves from the firms at just 2% tax as they are deemed directors’ loans – avoiding the current 50% top rate.

“The scheme is legal but will be a kick in the teeth for millions of ordinary supporters who pay tax at normal rates.”

Rooney’s tax dodging will do little to endear him back in the hearts of United fans, coming just months after his contract negotiations – during which he was accused of holding the club to ransom – and just a week after Manchester City Council fired 2,000 staff, a move described by the Unite trade unioin as “savage”.

• The False Economy website is running a poll of the nation’s top tax shirkers: Barclays; Boots; Google; George Osborne; HM Revenue and Customs; HMV; KPMG; Philip Green/Arcadia; SAB Miller; and Vodafone, while UK Uncut is holding a day of action against tax avoidance on Sunday, January 30th – for details see here.

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