HMRC seeks to appeal Rangers tax ruling

HMRC has applied for permission to appeal against a tax ruling over Rangers Football Club’s use of employee benefit trusts (EBTs).

Last month, an upper tier tax tribunal rejected an HMRC appeal against a first tier decision on payments made to players and other employees to be taxed as wages.

But some of the issues arising were referred back to the original tribunal.

In 2012 the lower tribunal ruled in favour of the Murray Group, which had argued that its £49m in payments weren’t subject to tax as they weren’t wages.

Murray Group, which controlled Rangers until the club went into administration in 2011, said that the payments were loans.

The company created an employee remuneration trust in 2002 that created sub-trusts for more than 100 footballers contracted with the club over the next 10 years.

The club would put a tax-free sum into each trust, for which the players would be given powers as “protectors” similar to those of trustees but without giving them title to the trust assets or any absolute beneficial rights.

HMRC said it had applied for permission to appeal against the case to the Court of Session.

“HMRC continues to believe that schemes using Employee Benefit Trusts to avoid tax do not work,” the Revenue said in a statement.

About 700 users of EBT schemes have settled with HMRC, reulting in £800m of tax and NICs being paid, it added.

HMRC said it was proud of its record of winning around 80% of cases that are taken to litigation by the taxpayer.

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