Gordon Brown wants to recoup millions of pounds from celebrities as part of a Treasury drive to reclaim an estimated £97 billion underpaid in tax each year.More from Robert Winnett and David Leppard in The Sunday Times.
HM Revenue & Customs is mounting a test case against Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, the chat show hosts, that will set a legal precedent for television presenters, authors and footballers.
It claims that they have wrongly written off the cost of employing agents against their tax bills and wants to recover a six-figure sum to cover the period back to the late 1990s.
It could affect thousands of big names such as J K Rowling, the author, Jamie Oliver, the television chef, and Frank Lampard and Michael Owen, the England footballers, according to tax experts. In total the Revenue is hoping to recover hundreds of millions of pounds.