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Rangers Football Club and HMRC

I am really fed up with hearing about football clubs going to the wall owing huge sums of tax.

The story about Rangers this lunchtime has infuriated me.

Why has it taken so long for HMRC to collect the money? What with all the "bungs" and highly paid players and clubs conveniently becoming insolvent, the football world has always appeared to me to be highly dodgy.

What's the answer to stop this happening in the future?


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14th Feb 2012 13:31

Me, too, Moonbeam

Same with bankers, etc. There are some who can do their worst and merely get a slap on the hand, and those who make a simple genuine mistake and get punished beyond all comprehension!

I'm not a footie fan, and I think professional football has absolutely nothing to do with sport anymore, and why fans are willing to pay such high ticket prices beats me!

I much preferred the days when rugby players had real jobs and played for the love of the sport.

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By DMGbus
14th Feb 2012 13:41

Remove money from the game

If there wasn't too much money sloshing around in football these tax debts wouldn't arise so much...

Reverse recent anti-competitve (bribes?) ruling on pubs not being able to contract to show football bought in from legitimate mainland Europe suppliersIncrease VAT on match tickets to 30% (VAT tends to get collected more vigouriusly than PAYE?  Less easy to avoid / defraud VAT than PAYE?) on clubs in the highest division, 20% on middle divisions and 10% on lower division clubsLet the football industry suffer - idiotically high amounts paid to allegedly illiterates (the "idiot" defence sometimes works it seems)shows that there's too much money in the industry - at least at certain levels (the highest levels, I mean)

PS. I hate football, in case you haven't already gathered from above!

Fed up of seeing scandals year after year connected with the football industry.

Having said this I see lots of criticism of bankers, so how about this...

Find an inhospitable offshore Scottish Island and send top bankers and footballers there to live and form a society run by "their" rules to rule themselves, they might then gain some sense of financial / social responsibility (then again, they might not!).




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Offence taken

that you had to say "Scottish" island.

And lucky i'm just calling it offence and not the other word that appears to be flavour of the month just now.

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14th Feb 2012 14:28

Moonbeam suggest you get your facts straight



Unlike the numerous high profile ENGLISH club issues with insolvency, the Rangers debt is nothing to do with "bungs" or fraudulent evasion of tax.  The Rangers tax debt is purely to do with the payment of players using EBTs, in line with advice received from big 4 accountants,  and if they lose the tax case there will be a lot more than Rangers going to the wall.  There are 4,000 companies which have used the same scheme and if Rangers lose, many of these companies will also face huge tax bills, putting them at serious risk of insolvency.

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14th Feb 2012 14:29


Above a certain threshold, empower and oblige the HMRC tax offices to request and monitor management information for the football clubs.  Issue warnings to the football clubs where the tax office believes their treatment of matters contravenes the HMRC understanding and further, make the directors/decision makers legally responsible for acting in contravention to warnings issued by the offices, where these decisions ultimately lead to a loss of revenue for the crown.

No time limits, no excuses, no theft!

The obligation to meet the requests of the tax authorities will certainly have the boards clambering to follow the least risky path.

The 'chap' who took over Rangers knew that financially, pumping a bunch of money to pay off the bank was fine and still a good investment because ultimately he could use the excuse of the HMRC debt to push the company into admin and rationalise the company wage bill, creditors and make the business more profitable.

This is only possible as the crown is no longer a preferred creditor, and the costs of pursuing directors for mismanagement with any outlook of success is prohibitive, whilst they hide behind the excuse that they do things in the best interest of the members.

Ultimately too much of life these days is carried out looking at the bottom line and not the principle of matters!!!


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14th Feb 2012 14:48

Not convinced it's all about EBT's

As far as the facts go, I have only the news to rely on. The version I heard was that there were various taxes involved.

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14th Feb 2012 16:36

Tax case

The tax case which makes up the bulk of the tax due (if proven) relates to the use of EBTs .  There may be other debts due for other taxes but these are inconsequential when set against the £75m allegedly due for using EBTs. 

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14th Feb 2012 14:50


If HMRC succeed in closing down Rangers, they'll have gone a long way to ensuring a "yes" vote in the forthcoming Scottish independence referrendum!

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14th Feb 2012 15:21

Football still contributes

While there have been a number of 'high profile' cases of HMRC not collecting PAYE & NI from football clubs, it's always easy to fall into the trap that all footballers and clubs are bad with the result that there is often an negative and unbalanced portrayal of the football industry.  Tax structuring is legal provided it is within the existing legislation and it should be noted that the Premier League are likely to contribute over £1bn to the Treasury this season (2011/12), not an inconsequential sum!

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New powers

Are we now going to see HMRC utilise their new powers and demand a "bond" equivalent to a years PAYE before they allow Rangers to operate a PAYE scheme ?

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By hfc1875
14th Feb 2012 16:59

It's a tragedy...

... the whole of scottish football will be in mourning..

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14th Feb 2012 17:59

mn2taxhbj get your facts straight

The failure of the EBT in the Rangers case is due to the lack of discretionary payments. An EBT stands up to legislation prior to December 2010 if the payments are demonstrated to be discretionary. In the Rangers case the payments were written into player contracts & this is why the case is expected to fail.

Dmgbus why should fans pay more money in VAT. In my experience HMRC are very aggressive in collecting outstanding revenue so why are they not taking this stance with football clubs. Live reporting of PAYE will help as I would imagine this is where most clubs owe tax due to most posting a loss. This & insisting on monthly VAT reporting for any club in arrears would ensure that the clubs can not walk all over the rules. Another way would be to demand a SC60 style tax deduction on the television receipts whereby clubs use this tax credit against future PAYE liabilities.



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15th Feb 2012 07:51

Football Creditors Rule ...

Understood it was the massive PAYE bills that took their toll - together with the fact that the club spent £10m pa more that they were receiving

Anyway they will probably go the pre-pack route - another question!

This also touches on the issue

Quite what looking '.. at this through the prism of the football world ..' means is anyones guess but seems to imply that they have a set of never ending 'get out of jail cards' with constant allowances being made for incompetence/corruption etc.

Companies have the concept of trading whilst insolvent - presumably this does not apply to football clubs?

All the time these clubs can pay huge salaries and dodge the Revenues cut, this disgraceful situation will be perpetuated


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By Ian Bee
15th Feb 2012 09:38


I have read somewhere this week that the "football creditors" rule does not apply in the Scottish Leagues. (It's an invention of the Premiership and the Football League in England.)


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15th Feb 2012 16:19

new powers - agreed

So many football clubs have gone bust and walked away from millions in unpaid PAYE, that if HMRC don't apply for bonds immediately they restart, that will just go to show there is one rule for football clubs and another for the small businessman down the road. Would anyone be able to ask under the Freedom of Information Act whether a bond had been demanded, and if so how much- eg Wayne Rooney's PAYE/NIC deductions must be about £1/2 million per month alone.

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10th Apr 2012 11:38

new powers

HMR & C have powers as from this April to require advance payments of tax and NI where there is a perceived risk of slow, or non, payment of deductions. This applies to all firms!

With regard to DMGbus, and Scottish islands, I have just returned from an inhospitable place, far closer to many 'spivs' where they fine old ladies for feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square, but allow young and not so young to career around on skateboards regardless of who they collide with.

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