A HIGH-profile figure fighting a costly legal battle with tax officials in a bid to keep his name secret is thought to be a top footballer.
He has spent an estimated £50,000 protecting his anonymity — and probably hundreds of thousands on costs for the whole case.
It is not known how much of a potential tax bill he is trying to fight off but it is likely to be hundreds of thousands more.
But he is set to be named in the next two weeks after High Court judges ruled this month it was “highly unusual” to allow his identity to be concealed.
Many aces were advised to invest in such vehicles that HMRC later cracked down on.
Football stars also often set up companies to receive image rights money, which is then liable for corporation tax at a lower rate than income tax.
The wrangle began in 2019 when the star appealed to the First Tier Tribunal “tax court” about deductions HMRC denied him for income tax purposes.
He then applied for anonymity at a hearing in July 2021.
That September, the FTT said the preliminary proceedings should be heard in secret to protect his private or family life and keep “sensitive information” out of the public domain.
HMRC appealed, arguing that the FTT decision “erred in law”.
Now High Court Upper Tax Tribunal judges have ruled the star should be named.
Dan Neidle, founder of think tank Tax Policy Associates, said: “Tax appeals are almost always public, so it is outrageous someone is trying to fight HMRC behind closed doors.
“And our best guess is it’s a footballer or ex-footballer.”