United Kingdom: UK Footballers try to avoid high tax

It has been reported that football players playing in the United Kingdom are trying to anticipate on the forthcoming increase of the top UK income tax rate. As of April 2010 this rate will be increased from 40 to 50% (on earnings exceeding GBP 150,000 per year). One option is to move to another country, e.g. in Spain incoming foreign players can benefit from a reduced fixed income tax rate of 25%, or to try and renegotiate the contract with the club.

Another interesting option that according to reports in the media is being examined is to replace (part of) the salary of a player by a zero-interest loan. The immediate income tax due would then be reduced to income tax on a fictitious interest of 5% of the loan. With a 50% tax rate the tax due would then be limited to a yearly 2,5%. Reportedly the final benefit would depend on whether the 50% tax rate would in the future (but before the definitive granting of the loan) be reduced to the current or even lower levels.