Wayne Rooney is facing a £3.5m ($4.3m) bill from tax authorities for his part in a suspected avoidance scheme, The Times has reported. The Manchester United and England captain was said to be the largest investor in a scheme involving the film industry and investment firm Invicta.
Rooney has allegedly been told that HM Revenue & Customs believes he is liable for the multimillion pound sum, however Invicta has disputed the allegations.
The footballer is said to have invested £12.5m in Invicta subsidiaries, which used a legal tax loophole to avoid taxes.
The measure was introduced by Gordon Brown during his time as chancellor in order to stimulate the British film industry. However, it has since been repealed and HMRC is pursuing investors who it believes did not use schemes as legitimate investment vehicles, but rather as a way of avoiding tax.
Rooney is alleged to be one of 225 other wealthy investors to put money into Invicta – which is responsible for films such as Fred Claus and 10,000 BC.
An HMRC spokesman confirmed partner payment notices (PPNs) have been sent to Rooney and the other investors.
These are notices delivered "where we consider the arrangements used to be avoidance" and ask the recipients to pay the disputed tax amount within 90 days, the spokesman confirmed to The Times.
One investor told the newspaper, "People are very worried. Some will be financially embarrassed. They will not be in a position to shelter the problem.
"It's not just a case of losing the relief you claimed. It's having to pay tax on the income later."
This is the fifth time in four years HMRC has challenged Rooney's tax affairs.
However, a spokesman for Rooney told the Daily Mail, "Wayne's tax affairs have always been conducted in full compliance with the law."
Gareth Southgate, England's new stand-in manager after the departure of Sam Allardyce, has also reportedly received a PPN for his involvement in another tax vehicle which benefited from the movie industry.
The revelations are to cause further embarrassment to the Football Association after Allardyce was accused of corruption and sacked after just 67 days in the job.