Former Liverpool and England footballer John Barnes lands director ban

John Barnes

The insolvency service is making an example of former England and Liverpool footballer John Barnes who has been banned as a director after his company failed to pay tens of thousands of pounds in tax.

Investigations by the Insolvency Service revealed that between 2018 and 2020, his company John Barnes Media Limited, failed to pay more than £190,000 in corporation tax and VAT, with HM Revenue and Customs its only known creditor when it ceased trading.

Barnes, whose business address is in Surrey, has signed a disqualification undertaking banning him from being a company director for the next three-and-a-half years.

Mike Smith, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “John Barnes had a legal duty to ensure his company paid the correct amount of corporation tax and VAT. Instead, it paid no tax whatsoever between November 2018 and October 2020, despite receiving earnings of well over £400,000.

“This disqualification should serve as a deterrent to other directors that if you do not pay your taxes while directing money elsewhere, you are at risk of being banned.”

Barnes, who earned 79 England caps during a professional playing career spanning almost two decades, formed John Barnes Media Limited in September 2012 and described itself as offering media representation services. Barnes was the sole director.

Between November 2018 and October 2020, John Barnes Media’s turnover was £441,798, but nothing was paid to HM Revenue and Customs in tax during that period, despite the company filing returns showing what the VAT payments should have been.

The Insolvency Service’s investigation showed that John Barnes Media failed to pay £78,839 in corporation tax between August 2018 and January 2020, when the company ceased trading. The company also failed to pay £115,272 in VAT between February 2019 and 2020.

Insolvency Service investigations into Barnes’ conduct as a director began in September 2023.

The Secretary of State for Business and Trade accepted a disqualification undertaking from Barnes, and his ban started on Wednesday 24 April.

It prevents him from being involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company, without the permission of the court.