Wayne Rooney, Arsene Wenger and Jimmy Carr are among a number of celebrities that have won a long-running £263m investment scheme tax battle with the HMRC.
The taxman argued the England legend and hundreds of celebrities had benefited excessively from tax relief for the project to build two data centres at Cobalt Business Park.
A High Court ruling yesterday found in favour of the 675 investors in the Cobalt scheme, which received tax relief for funding developments trying to stimulate growth in deprived areas.
We are disappointed with the decision and are considering an appeal"
This overturns a 2016 victory for HMRC, as part of its drive to claim back money from what it deemed aggressive tax avoidance schemes.
Derby County's Rooney is among 675 investors, including comedian Jimmy Carr, Arsene Wenger, Roy Hodgson, the late Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt, and Lady Elizabeth-Ann Redgrave, wife of Olympic legend Sir Steve. In 2011 they put in £79m - an average of £117,000 each - towards the £263m Cobalt Data Centres 2 and 3 in North Tyneside, unused for years.
But they got back £131m in tax relief via the scheme to start economic growth in deprived areas.
The schemes used allowances which enabled investors to claim 50% tax relief on the full £263m cost of the project, even though their total investment was less.
It means some investors received more in tax relief than they contributed to the scheme. The tax allowance could then be deducted from future tax bills.
There is no suggestion however of any wrongdoing by any of those involved in the scheme and many said at the time that were pleased to be investing in schemes they hoped would create jobs in the North East.
An HMRC spokesman said: "We are disappointed with the decision and are considering an appeal."