THE GIANTS have refuted an Australian agent’s claim that they could miss a potential signing due to tax law changes.
Jim Banaghan, talking to Australian magazine Rugby League Week, claimed that one of his clients, New Zealand international scrum-half Nathan Fien, will pull out of a proposed move to Huddersfield next season unless the Giants can come up with “government-approved financial arrangements”.
However, the Giants have said that no deal has ever been struck with the 29-year-old half back or his representative.
Giants managing director Richard Thewlis said: “There was never a move on anyway.”
Fien was linked with the Giants in January, but elected to see out his current contract with NZ Warriors.
Banaghan used the Fien case as an example of why he feels fewer stars from down under will be making their way to England.
He warned overseas players may start “flooding back” home from Super League because of a tax clampdown by the Inland Revenue – moves have been made to close the tax loophole under which leading players are paid a large proportion of their salaries in image rights.
The offshore payments have in some cases made up to 40% of players’ salaries tax free, in addition to exempting clubs from National Insurance payments.
“I know of players who have been told they are expected to absorb the new expense because the club can’t afford to,” said Banaghan. “If they are unwilling to do that, they are welcome to leave.”
The magazine claimed that Warrington’s Michael Monaghan and Matt King are among the players who will have to take an effective pay cut of up to 12%. Warrington chief executive Andy Gatcliffe has confirmed that his club have asked the RFL to hold discussions with HM Revenue and Customs.