25 Feb 2014

Rangers: HMRC states its case

It is never easy getting HMRC to state their case. A lot of folk quite reasonably wish to know why Hector the Taxman is expending considerable sums of our dosh to pursue Rangers FC over alleged mass tax avoidance of disputed legality.


I had hoped to get their explanation for you yesterday on the day the upper tier tax tribunal opened in Edinburgh but that proved impossible.

However, it pays to be persistent when pursuing HMRC and just when I was wondering if they were unsure why they are pursuing the case, the following arrived:

“HMRC has increasingly seen EBTs (employment benefit trusts) being used as a way of avoiding pay as you earn income tax (PAYE) and national insurance (NICs).

“Where we believe a company has used an EBT as a way of trying to avoid obligations to account for PAYE tax and NICs, we challenge the arrangement and seek to recover the unpaid tax and national insurance.

“We were disappointed to have lost the first tier tribunal stage of the court process and are currently appealing that tribunal decision.  The first tier decision was not unanimous and the diligence of HMRC investigators was acknowledged by the whole tribunal.

“We are committed to tackling avoidance and it is right that HMRC challenge the type of avoidance seen in this case to prevent the loss of substantial amounts of tax and national insurance.”

There you have it. I commend the coverage of the tribunal by the Scottish Football Monitor and trust they have the stamina to stay the course.

Rangers court battle: what next for Ibrox?

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22 reader comments

  1. grfcno1 says:

    “Where we believe a company has used an EBT as a way of trying to avoid obligations to account for PAYE tax and NICs, we challenge the arrangement and seek to recover the unpaid tax and national insurance.

    Why not do your job and question this response then? Remind us how much HMRC will actually receive even if they won this case? How can this witch-hunt be in the best interests of the tax payer when they stand to gain £0 even with a win? Yes it will let them chase other companies but why not chase one of them in the 1st place rather than chase a company that will see you receive £0? Also is it in the tax payers best interest to let certain companies off with massive amounts of unpaid tax, like vodafone for example, £4.8 billion they get let off with yet they are chasing a company for peanuts that they cant ever receive anyway.

    1. jb says:

      You ever heard of laws and regulations and treating evetyone in the same manner? Usually considered fundamental in a modern society.

  2. ian johnston says:

    Why dont you do an investigation into the possibility of favourable land deals ( gcc) and very low interest bank loans ( co-op ) that celtic have secured. If the ordinary man in the street can uncover so much information that they already have, then an experienced investigate journalist such as your self could blow the lid of it.

  3. william McMonagle says:

    Well well well,its Mr Thompson again on his white charger,i dont dispute the claims made by HMRC,But i think using Rangers as a test case will ultimately be futile,and i expect the initial court verdict to be upheld.So lets all move on,and let a Scottish Institution ,that is Rangers,lick its wounds,and rebuild its reputation.The witch hunt will finally be over,for all the good folk who follow,or are employed by Rangers FC,.You can all put away the size nines,the kicking the club is over.Time for all journalists to find another media victim.Rangers will be back,bigger,better,and chastened.Follow Follow,no matter the division.Billy.

    1. Carntyne says:

      ian johnston 25-Feb-14

      Administration rumoured for Wednesday, so your claims that…”Rangers will be back,bigger and better”…seem a little premature”.

  4. trueblue says:

    Pity they didnt chase others down in the same way eh excuse me if im wrong was it vodaphone or one of the others got off with a hellava lot more than rangers owed thats if we owed anything

  5. Alan McPherson says:

    The point being that ‘avoidance’ is legal (if you pay standard tax and receive an allowance, as most of us do, you are be definition ‘avoiding’ tax), evasion is illegal. EBTs at the time they were used, by amongst many, Rangers were legal. HMRC have since closed this ‘loophole’ and are now seeking to recover tax owed prior to that decision.

    Simple analogy, current Tax Free threshold is £10k, after election new Govt and new chancellor change threshold to £9k and then charge everyone in UK for the tax due on £1k since £10k threshold introduced.

    This, is Cheating!!

  6. Wilkins screamer says:

    all the teams in England with debts better watch out!

    follow follow….

  7. Wilkins screamer says:

    sorry that post was supposed to say EBTS not debts.ff

  8. Joe says:

    Point missed spectacularly grfcno1.

    If they get this one through the courts, the other EBTs that they have spoke about will be free to be approached by HMRC for the money they are due.

    They will state they have the backing of the courts, and they will, as per the case of HMRC vs Rangers Football Club etc.

  9. Fergus says:

    Sevco fans are unbelievable!!!

    They think it is absolutely fine to refuse to pay taxes, refuse to pay hard working honest companies there money and yet when they are pulled up on it they say its a witch hunt

    deary me, get your unpaid bills paid!!!!!!

  10. John says:

    Great work as always Alex! Good to see that someone is keeping this in the msm.

    As always the blue boys are scratching their heads as to why no investigation into land deals and low interests rates. The reason lads, as has been explained to you on several occasions, is there is nothing to investigate! Several Celtic minded posters on TSFM have dismantled your claims with ease. If your champion pzj wants to go head to head with eco in an online forum tell him to man up and get on TSFM and see who is left standing.

    HMRC getting it in the neck for chasing rangers when they wont get any monetary return? Why is this even brought up? TEST CASE, bigger fish to fry than you guys!

    Dave king back in the papers urging ST boycott and I have to say, it seems the only way to get some clarity around finances and also give the fans a voice again.

    SMSM are as much to blame as Whyte or Green, their lambcculent coverage of all things rangers has been so slanted for as long as I can remember and yet rfc fans claim bias against them?? Rymes with giraffe?

    Dropping points is temporary pain, liquidation lasts forever ;-)

  11. Sons of Truth says:

    What’s left to say on this pantomime?
    Well..for me it’s a heartfelt THANK YOU to all at the Orcadome. I’m going to miss the show when the curtains close for the last time.
    I would appeal to all Sevco5088 followers to keep the head and let go with dignity.

    There’s more to life, like!

    Be good…

  12. AyrshireScot says:

    I do have to wonder what exactly is in the public interest in this case as they have zero chance of getting the £24 million even if they win.

    It can’t be argued that this is a test case,as HMRC has already won some EBT cases and lost others as each EBT case is taken on it’s own merit.

    So what exactly is the point in spending millions on a case that has no chance of any financial return and in no way helps in other EBT cases in the future ?

    Perhaps you could get a more detailed answer for us Alex ?

  13. Scott Gray says:

    Why were Rangers the test case? And who was the source of the leaks?

    1. Bruce67 says:

      Why were the test case? Because they were serial tax cheats without remorse? Because thet appealed the assessment? They pissed HMRC off? Someone had to be? Their case would draw much more publicity – which is the point of a test case, to encourage the others? A mix of all these?

      1. Scott Gray says:

        Chill out gramps. Did you miss the point that we WON the tax case? So I’m sorry, I cant accept the cheating thing.

        Someone, somewhere tried to bring us down. We all know who. Will it ever go public???

      2. Bruce67 says:

        Did you miss the point that the tax case isn’t over? And that Rangers remained tax cheats due to the wee tax case and the millions of unpaid PAYE and NI?

        So, do tell, who brought you down?

  14. Fred Howden says:

    The usual deniers on here. Quite simply if HMRC win ( I think they will ref Aberdeen Asset Mang ) then it clears the way for other clubs and companies to be persude. If they loose, ot,s open season for the tax spivs !

    1. jac says:

      The Aberdeen Asset case isn’t directly applicable to the Rangers case. Even HMRC acknowledge that there are many forms of EBT and a lot of these schemes were effective as the FTT decided (albeit 2:1) in this case.
      There is no clear case law that means that ALL EBTs were ineffective which is why this will take several weeks to unravel and will then be appealed by the losers.

  15. Alex says:

    Shame HMRC aren’t interested in pursuing Clubs who ran their whole operation on cash payments (biscuit tin, was their droll explanation). This, apparently was an admirable trait!

    1. Bruce67 says:

      And do you have any actual proof of this, or are you just smearing form the sake of it?

Comments are closed.