Ex-England star John Barnes banned as company director over unpaid taxes

Former England and Liverpool footballer John Barnes has been banned as a director after his company failed to pay more than £190,000 in corporation tax and VAT.

Mr Barnes, 60, has signed a disqualification undertaking banning him from being a company director for three-and-a-half years, the Insolvency Service said.

His company, John Barnes Media Limited, failed to pay the corporation tax and VAT between 2018 and 2020, with HM Revenue and Customs its only known creditor when it ceased trading.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service into Mr Barnes’ conduct as a director began in September 2023.

John Barnes bankruptcy
John Barnes played for England and Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

He was the sole director of the company, based in West Byfleet, Surrey, which described itself as offering media representation services.

Between November 2018 and October 2020, John Barnes Media’s turnover was £441,798.

Nothing was paid to HMRC in tax during that period, despite the company filing returns showing what the VAT payments should have been.

The 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.

Mike Smith, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “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.

“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”.

Mr Barnes, who earned 79 England caps during a professional playing career spanning almost two decades, formed John Barnes Media Limited in September 2012.

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

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