Gary Lineker wins battle with HMRC over £4.9m tax bill

Football legend Gary Lineker has won a long-running battle with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over a £4.9m tax bill.

The former England and Barcelona striker, who now works as a presenter on BBC’s Match of the Day, was accused of failing to pay income tax on his earnings from several companies.

Lineker, 58, denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the tax bill was excessive, saying he had “paid all the tax due”.

HMRC had initially sought £4.9m from Lineker and his companies, but after a lengthy legal battle, the dispute was resolved in his favour.

In a statement, Lineker said he was “pleased” with the outcome, adding: “I have always been entirely confident that my tax affairs were in order and that I had paid all the tax due.

“I am pleased that this has now been confirmed and that HMRC has accepted my position.”

The dispute centred around Lineker’s companies, which were set up to manage his income from various sources. HMRC said these companies had “failed to pay the correct amount of income tax”.

However, Lineker’s lawyers argued that the tax bill was “too high” and that their client had “acted in good faith”.

The case went to a tribunal in the High Court, where Lineker’s lawyers successfully argued that the tax bill should be reduced. HMRC accepted the ruling and the dispute was settled.

Lineker, who won 80 caps for England and scored 48 goals, said he was “grateful” for the judgement and thanked his legal team.

The BBC presenter, who is also an ambassador for the charity Unicef, has been a vocal campaigner for tax justice and has previously spoken out against tax avoidance.

The successful legal battle is a welcome relief for Lineker, who had been facing a hefty tax bill. It is a victory for the former footballer, who has now been vindicated in his battle with HM Revenue and Customs.