Former England Footballer John Barnes Banned as Company Director Over £190,000 Unpaid Taxes

Former England and Liverpool footballer John Barnes banned from being a company director for 3.5 years over £190,000 in unpaid taxes. A cautionary tale for directors who fail to meet their tax obligations.

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Shivani Chauhan
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Former England Footballer John Barnes Banned as Company Director Over £190,000 Unpaid Taxes

Former England Footballer John Barnes Banned as Company Director Over £190,000 Unpaid Taxes

John Barnes, the former England and Liverpool footballer, has been banned from serving as a company director for 3.5 years after his firm, John Barnes Media Limited, failed to pay over £190,000 in corporation tax and VAT between 2018 and 2020. An investigation by the Insolvency Service revealed that despite the company receiving earnings of £441,798 during that period, it paid zero tax to HMRC.

Barnes, 59, was the sole director of John Barnes Media Limited, which described itself as offering media representation services. The Insolvency Service found that the company did not pay £78,839 in corporation tax between August 2018 and January 2020, and also left unpaid VAT payments of £115,272, totaling £194,111 in unpaid taxes.

As a result of the investigation, Barnes has signed a disqualification undertaking that prevents him from being involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company without the permission of the court until October 2027. The ban took effect from October 13, 2023.

Why this matters: The disqualification of a high-profile former footballer functions as a sobering reminder that company directors have a legal responsibility to ensure their businesses pay the correct amount of tax. The Insolvency Service stated that this ban should act as a deterrent to other directors who fail to pay their tax while directing money elsewhere.

Mike Smith, the Insolvency Service's chief investigator, emphasized the consequences of not meeting tax obligations: "If directors do not pay their taxes while directing money elsewhere, they risk being banned from serving as company directors." The Insolvency Service said the unpaid taxes deprived the government of funding needed for essential public services.

Barnes, who earned 79 caps for England and made 407 appearances for Liverpool, has been the subject of multiple bankruptcy petitions in the past and has previously expressed his dislike for dealing with taxes. John Barnes Media Limited went into liquidation in May 2023 after being served with a winding-up petition by HMRC.

Key Takeaways

  • John Barnes banned from being a company director for 3.5 years
  • His firm failed to pay £190k in corporation tax and VAT from 2018-2020
  • The company received £441,798 but paid zero tax to HMRC
  • Barnes banned until 2027 without court permission to form/manage a company
  • Insolvency Service says ban should deter directors from not paying taxes