Lineker was pursued by HMRC, who claimed that he owed £4.9 million under IR35 legislation for work carried out between 2013 and 2018. But in a decision in the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) Judge John Brooks ruled that IR35 did not apply to Lineker as he had direct contracts with the BBC and BT Sport.
Throughout proceedings Lineker claimed all taxes were paid on the income via a partnership set up in 2012 with his ex-wife Danielle Bux. The FTT found that while Gary Lineker Media (GLM) was a partnership to which IR35 legislation applies, the appeal was still dismissed in full because contracts existed.
It was deemed that Lineker, rather than his partnership Gary Lineker Media, had a direct contract with the BBC and BT Sport, therefore with no intermediary in place, IR35 did not come into effect.
Judge Brooks said: "As a matter of law, when Mr Lineker signed the 2013 BBC Contract, the 2015 BBC Contract and the BT Sport Contract for the provision of his services, he did so as principal thereby contracting directly with the BBC and BT Sport.
"As such, the intermediaries legislation cannot apply - it is only applicable 'where services are provided not under a contract directly between client and the worker'. In this case Mr Lineker's services were provided under direct contracts with the BBC and BT Sport.
"Although such a conclusion might appear inconsistent with my conclusions that the intermediaries legislation can apply to partnerships... that is not the case."
After the decision, Lineker said: “I am pleased that the tribunal has confirmed that I have not failed to pay any taxes or national insurance by reason of the IR35 rules.”
For a number of year, the BBC and HMRC has been involved in protracted arguments with some high-profile presenters, including Lineker, over their employment status, and specifically over how they paid their tax. Some have claimed that the BBC have 'forced' them to operate via limited companies and others have argued that they are legitimate businesses rather than 'disguised employees'.
HMRC is considering its next course of action and has 56 days to appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber).
An HMRC spokesperson said: "The tribunal has confirmed the off-payroll rules apply to partnerships, as we have always said. However, we do not agree with its decision that the rules cannot apply in this case and we're considering an appeal. It is our duty to ensure everyone pays the right tax under the law, regardless of wealth or status."
The Tribunal decision is available here.
Further IR35 information
For more information about all aspects of IR35, including other high profile cases see Shout99's News on IR35 section.
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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2023