Taxation – Wimbledon’s grand slam

The taxman has admitted to taking a closer than usual interest in this year’s tennis at Wimbledon, with local offices launching a crackdown on residents nearby cashing in and not declaring tournament-related income on their tax returns, writes Chris Quick.

While the rest of the nation was gripped last week by Pete Sampras’ successful defence of his Wimbledon title, tax officers from south-west London offices trawled temporary accommodation adverts and cruised streets to spot evidence of undeclared money-making.

An Inland Revenue spokesman refused to divulge details, but confirmed a ‘local initiative was being run by local offices.’ Residents renting out driveways as temporary car parks are among those believed to be in the firing line.

Wimbledon accountant Paul Windsor, of Windsor Stebbing Marsh, said he had not heard of the initiative, but said a number of local residents had let their homes to catering teams and film crews during this year’s tournament.

He seemed shocked at suggestions that residents of the leafy suburb would stoop to tax evasion but confirmed he had clients who declared such income on their tax returns. Some, he added, also took advantage of the Revenue’s ‘rent-a-room’ allowance.

But Alastair Kendrick, tax director at Ernst & Young, warned the Revenue was ‘alive’ to money-making possibilities arising from big sports tournaments, and checked accommodation adverts for locals letting out their houses for such events.

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