HMRC criticised over joke about Luke Littler’s tax bill


HMRC used a sarcastic post on X quoting a Sky News story to remind Luke Littler of his income tax obligations after his remarkable run to the World Darts Championship final.

After reporting in our new Money blog that Littler, 16, will pay £83,000 in tax from his £200,000 earnings collected from his stunning performance at the tournament, a Sky News post on X was quoted by the government department.

“Big congrats to Luke on his fantastic run to the final,” the response read.

“We can confirm the existence of income tax.”

Littler told Sky News this week the best message he received during his sudden rise to fame was from former England football captain David Beckham.

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Littler: ‘Best message was from Beckham’

While the HMRC post on X, formerly known as Twitter, has been liked almost 4,000 times, comments suggest many did not appreciate the “inappropriate” tone.

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One user made the point: “And how about corporation tax for the likes of Amazon? Any witty banter about them???”

Daniel Oliver said: “Nothing funny about this Tweet. Inappropriate.”

Another responded: “Quite an unpleasant, condescending response from HMRC, I feel – even though it may be technically accurate.”

And Python Maps, clearly a student of the American Revolution, pointed out it might be harsh given his age, saying: “He can’t vote. No taxation without representation.”

How does Littler’s tax bill break down?

While Littler will bank £200,000 after finishing second in the championship, experts believe he will lose at least 45% of that in tax.

Investment platform Saxo says Littler will have to forfeit £76,203 of his winnings to the tax man – as well as £7,330 in national insurance.


Andrew Mangion, head of tax product at Saxo, said: “Everybody needs to pay tax, no matter their age, and under 18s have the same personal allowance as adults.

“Normally children don’t work or if they do, their pay is generally under the tax free allowance.

“In this case, it’s rare for a teenager to come into so much money in one lump sum and we would advise him to take professional financial advice on how to best act on this.”

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