Partners at Griffins appointed as Joint Trustees in Bankruptcy of professional footballer

On 23 February 2017 Adam Harris and Stephen Hunt, Partners at Griffins, were appointed as Joint Trustees in Bankruptcy of Matthew Oakley, a professional footballer at the League 2 club Exeter.

Matthew Oakley, was made bankrupt on 23 January 2017 in the County Court at Central London (Bankruptcy No: 1817 of 2016) following a petition presented by HM Revenue & Customs in relation to tax liabilities arising from investments in film partnership tax schemes.

Mr Oakley, aged 39, had previously spent many years playing for the Premier League club Southampton. His football career also included spells at Leicester City and Derby County.

The role of a trustee is to investigate the affairs of the bankrupt and realise assets for the benefit of creditors.

Film partnership schemes have been used by higher rate taxpayers, such as professional footballers, as these can provide not only tax relief but future income from film rights. HM Revenue & Customs have challenged a number of these schemes for maximising tax relief by artificially inflating the schemes losses thereby resulting in significantly reduced tax bills for participants.

Mr Harris commented: “There has been considerable public concern and media interest in footballers using film partnership schemes as a way of potential tax avoidance and while it would be inappropriate to comment upon the specific nature of the schemes in Mr Oakley’s bankruptcy, this will be a matter that will be considered closely.”