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Bury chairman labels HMRC ‘trigger happy’

25th Jan 2016
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Bury football club chairman Stewart Day has called HMRC ‘trigger happy’ after the revenue issued a winding-up petition against the club.

The tax authority launched the legal action against the club over an unpaid tax bill for December of £156,000.

Commenting on HMRC’s action, Day told Talksport that the bill was settled within seven days and expressed frustration that HMRC had chosen to take the “legal route” with the club.

He confirmed that the bill had now been paid in full and that the Shakers were seeking to annul the hearing.

Speaking about the unpaid bill, Day stated that there had been “an administration error that was paid in full about seven days late from when it needed to be done”.

He also blamed a postponed Boxing Day fixture against Barnsley for disrupting the club’s cash flow

The hearing has been set for February 15 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, but club insiders are confident that now the debt has been settled it will not go to court.

"It’s frustrating now that we’ve got to go and pay extra legal bills to have things removed when we don’t owe them a single penny at this moment in time”, said Day.

“We continue to pay our bills, we continue to progress forward but they [HMRC] are trigger-happy with football clubs.”

Day also stated that other football clubs he has spoken with “all have similar sorts of issues” with the tax authority.

“I know HMRC are very strict on sporting organisations and have difficulty with things,” he said, “but HMRC wanted to try and take it down a legal route, which is a bit frustrating. It wasn’t a case of us not paying the bill, we don’t owe them a penny.”

Property entrepreneur Day was part of a consortium that took over Bury in 2013 when the club were on the brink of bankruptcy.

HMRC ‘moving to the front of the queue’

The Bury winding-up petition is the latest in a series of moves against football clubs, as the revenue seeks to get tough on professional sport.

Commenting on the recent Bolton Wanderers petition, football finance expert Rob Wilson told AccountingWEB that this is part of a strategy HMRC has been pursuing against professional sport for the past four or five years.

“HMRC has made a big play of saying ‘we’re not happy about the way professional sport is going about its business, so if they owe us money we’ve got a duty to the taxpayer to recover it’,” said Wilson.

 “There’s a spurious rule in professional football that all football-related creditors are paid first in administration cases.

 “HMRC has got wind of that, is not happy about taking a small proportion of their money back, so they’ve been issuing these winding-up petitions for professional football clubs – it moves them ahead of the football-related creditors.”


Replies (4)

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
25th Jan 2016 18:00

It's easy folks

If you can't afford the PAYE and NI, then don't offer the salaries.

End of story.  Football has taken the mickey for years on this front.

Thanks (8)
By Sheepy306
25th Jan 2016 23:30

About time
Totally agree, if HMRC are no longer lenient then I'm glad that they've finally got their act together. I don't believe for a second that HMRC issued a winding up petition without there being a long history of HMRC debt and previously missed payment promises. If a winding up petition was issued which resulted in full payment then that's a good result and the whole purpose of such proceedings. If there's now no debt then I would imagine that the petition will be withdrawn and no need for a hearing.
HMRC and general creditors always lose out because of the unfair football creditors rule, so I'm not surprised that they're going down the petition route.

Thanks (3)
By Scriptic
26th Jan 2016 07:16

Pay Up and Shut Up

Given the apparent lack of any sensible financial control exercised in many if not most football clubs these days, there can be no sympathy for the likes of Mr. Day here.

Thanks (6)
By steve01257
26th Jan 2016 11:37


If this was just "an administration error" as stated then what has disrupted cash flow from a postponed game got to do with anything?

I agree with the other posts and hope HMRC continue with this policy for as long as the offenders continue to not pay in full on time. Just a shame that it took HMRC so long to "get wind" of what was going on and take action.




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