John Barnes banned from company directorships over unpaid taxes

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John Barnes, the former England footballer, has been barred from serving as a company director due to unpaid taxes amounting to over £190,000 after his media firm, which provided media representation services, failed  to pay taxes on income exceeding £400,000.

Barnes, renowned for his football career with 79 caps for England and stints at prestigious clubs such as Liverpool and Newcastle United, faces a three-and-a-half-year disqualification from directing businesses, as decreed by the Insolvency Service.

The service disclosed that Barnes’s company, John Barnes Media Limited, failed to fulfil tax obligations spanning from 2018 to 2020, culminating in its liquidation in May of the previous year following a winding-up petition by HM Revenue and Customs. Subsequently, an investigation by the Insolvency Service ensued from September onwards. Barnes, as the sole director, established the company in September 2012.

In response, Barnes has consented to a disqualification undertaking, precluding his involvement in company promotion, formation, or management without judicial sanction.

Mike Smith, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said Barnes had a “legal duty” to ensure his company was paying the correct corporation tax and VAT.

“Individuals and businesses not paying the tax they should deprives the government of the funding it needs to provide vital public services and investment in areas such as schools, hospitals and roads,” he said.

Barnes, whose football career spanned from playing for Watford to managing Celtic, and who was honoured with an MBE in 1998, ventured into entrepreneurial pursuits post-retirement. Notably, he co-founded Team 48 Motorsport with former footballers Les Ferdinand and Luther Blissett, aimed at supporting young racing drivers from African-Caribbean backgrounds. However, this initiative was eventually dissolved.

Barnes has openly acknowledged his past financial management challenges, admitting to imprudent spending habits during his football career. Reflecting on his earlier years, he candidly acknowledged extravagant purchases like an Aston Martin and lavish attire.

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