Legal wrangle over

HMRC’s £56m settlement in Rangers ‘big tax’ case

Ibrox, Rangers (DBG)
Saga: Rangers

Rangers’ long-running ‘big tax’ case is over after HMRC reached a £56 million settlement with liquidators BDO.

The legal battle over the finances of the club’s old operating company had rumbled on for nearly 11 years.

A line has now been drawn under the saga, with the agreement £38m less than what HMRC had originally claimed back in 2012 when Rangers went into administration.

A letter from BDO this week, signed by James B Stephen and Malcolm Cohen stated that, on 10 December last year, the value of the claim was £64,514,000.

“We are pleased to advise that since the last report, we continued extensive and collaborative discussions with HMRC to reach a negotiated resolution in relation to the remaining elements of the claim,” said the BDO statement.

“After significant input from BDO’s tax dispute resolution team, together with our legal advisors, we were able to reach a composite settlement of £56m for the whole of the HMRC claim.

“Formal settlement documentation will ensure that HMRC will not raise any further claims in the liquidation. The agreed settlement with HMRC reflects the outcome of the Supreme Court decision in 2017.

“This composite settlement represents an agreed reduction to HMRC’s initial submitted claim in the liquidation. As a result, all other unsecured creditors should receive dividends totalling approximately 5.3p in the £ more (14.3p) than they would have otherwise received.

“It also negates the need for further protracted litigation which could have been costly to the liquidation estate.

“The joint liquidators have been in consultation with the committee and it was agreed that the composite settlement of £56m was a positive outcome for the creditors.”

An HMRC spokesperson said: “The Supreme Court ruled in HMRC’s favour in the case against Rangers’ tax avoidance scheme. We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the liquidators to recover the money due as a result of this judgment.”

The claim arose following the Glasgow club’s use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) to pay £47m to staff and players from 2001 to 2009, HMRC maintaining that the payments made into the scheme were taxable income under PAYE rules.

Two tribunals in 2012 and 2014 had previously found in Rangers’ favour but the Court of Session found in favour of HMRC after an appeal in 2015. BDO, which acted as liquidators when Rangers went into administration over an unrelated tax dispute, was allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The judges dismissed the appeal, ruling the way of HMRC.

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