The charges brought against Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp for tax evasion via an offshore account are a warning to those who continue to hide money from the UK authorities, say leading tax experts.
Redknapp has been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to two payments totalling £180,000 he received while manager of Portsmouth FC from its former chairman, Milan Mandaric.
It is alleged Redknapp received the payments via an account in Monaco and evaded tax and national insurance contributions between 1 April 2002 and 28 November 2007 estimated to total around £40,000.
Mandaric has also been charged with tax evasion and both are due to appear before magistrates next month.
Andrew Watt, managing director, Tax Disputes and Investigations at Alvarez & Marsal Taxand, said the decision to bring charges against Redknapp highlights the importance the revenue places on high-profile publicity of this kind.
“It is a very small amount for the revenue to be chasing when compared to most cases they pursue and clearly demonstrates their intention to make an example of high-profile people such as Redknapp,” said Watt.
BDO partner Fiona Fernie also said whether or not a prosecution is brought against Redknapp the case will still act as a deterrent.
“At the moment this is only an alleged offence so it is very hard to draw any solid conclusions,” said Fernie. “However, it is apparent the revenue believes it has enough evidence to win.
“The revenue is currently expending lot of energy on seeking out those attempting to avoid tax, hence the NDO, but as of yet they have not actually prosecuted in a great deal of cases so it does raise the question why such as small case? It is quite obvious bringing these charges against Redknapp is intended to act as a deterrent.”