Emile Heskey settles £195k HMRC legal fees

Emile Heskey settles £195k HMRC legal fees

Jun 6, 2024

A long-running tax case worth £1.63m with the former Liverpool and England footballer has concluded with HMRC set to receive £194,794.42 in legal fees

In 2017, retired professional footballer Emile Heskey, 46, was chased by HMRC for an unpaid tax bill of £1.63m. A trial was set for the High Court in November 2019 but was called off after Heskey paid the tax bill.

Now five years later, a hearing took place on Tuesday 4 June at the High Court between HMRC and Heskey revolving around the fees that were incurred. Although neither Heskey himself nor any representative attended the Court, barrister Daniel Laking represented HMRC before judge Mark Whalan.

It was concluded that Heskey owed £194,794.42 in legal fees which Whalan said was ‘reasonable and proportionate’.

As well as the figure for the fees, interest also mounts on the costs.

Francis Kendall, director and costs lawyer at Kain Knight said: ‘Given the amount of tax at stake, it is no surprise that the fees were deemed “proportionate”.

‘In my experience, the fees incurred by HMRC are nearly impossible to dispute.

‘The department has an army of in-house lawyers, who charge hourly rates that are well below market rate, or the guideline figures usually allowed on assessment. Counsel also tends to work on reduced fees for HMRC.

‘It is therefore likely that the legal spend if in the open market, could have been significantly higher than the sum recovered. Mr Heskey’s own costs would undoubtedly be an interesting comparator.’