Sports stars to get £100,000 from testimonials tax free

Publications that covered this story include the International Adviser on 14 November.
  • Allowance set to help older and retiring sports players at all levels

Sports stars are set to receive £100,000 tax free from money earned through testimonial matches under new Government proposals.

Older and retiring sports players will benefit substantially from the tax-free allowance as testimonial incomes can be significant six-figure sums. These funds can help many players better bridge the gap between playing sports professionally and their next career move.

Benefit matches are used to honour a long-standing player and can prove especially helpful for those players in the lower leagues and those on more modest incomes in particular.

Recent high-profile testimonials include one for former Manchester United and England forward Wayne Rooney in August 2016 and another for Manchester United captain Michael Carrick in June 2017. Wayne Rooney’s testimonial alone raised £1.2 million, with all the proceeds going to children’s charities.

Elliott Buss, partner in our Newport office, comments: “The new tax free allowance will make the system more generous for retiring athletes.”

“While benefit matches for higher-profile stars often make the headlines, testimonials are an important source of income for many players across all leagues. Most big name sports players already donate substantial amounts of the money they earn from testimonials to charities.”

“Testimonial seasons and games are an important way for clubs and fans to show their gratitude to players than have shown loyal service to their team.”

Under the original plans in the 2015 Summer Budget, sportsmen were to receive only the first £50,000 of payments tax-free.