Rangers' appeal 'allowed in principle'

PA Sport
Rangers have won a tax appeal in relation to their use of Employee Benefit Trusts
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Rangers have won a tax appeal in relation to their use of Employee Benefit Trusts

The tax tribunal which heard Rangers' appeal over their bill for the use of Employee Benefit Trusts has delivered a majority verdict which has "allowed the appeal in principle".

The tribunal stated that the "controversial monies received by the employees were not paid to them as their absolute entitlement". Rangers had argued that the payments, thought to be close to £49million, had been loans rather than wages and not subject to tax.

No verdict on any sum that the oldco Rangers were liable for was included in the findings, but Sir David Murray's company welcomed the verdict as vindication of their stance.

Oldco Rangers had previously stated they could be liable for up to £75million but the tribunal ruled that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs assessment should be "reduced substantially" with only some payments subject to tax.

"It was conceded that advances in favour of certain players are taxable and liable to NIC (National Insurance Contributions), and 35 we have found that, in certain other limited instances, there may be a similar liability.

"To that extent the assessments should stand. In these circumstances we expect that it is sufficient that we allow the appeal in principle. Parties can no doubt settle the sums due for the limited number of cases mentioned without further reference to the tribunal."

Murray International Holdings, who were majority shareholders of the oldco club until Craig Whyte's takeover in May 2011, declared in a statement released to Press Association Sport: "We are satisfied that the Tax Tribunal has now published its widely awaited decision and note the contents thereof.

"We are pleased with the judgement which leaves minimal tax liability and overwhelmingly supports the views collectively and consistently held by our advisers, legal counsel and MIH itself."

The decision does not affect the current football club at Ibrox, which was reconstituted as a new company when the oldco Rangers was consigned to liquidation in June.

HMRC revealed they were thinking about mounting a challenge to the decision, which was supported by two of the judges, Kenneth Mure QC and Scott Rae, but opposed by the other, Dr Heidi Poon. A statement from HMRC read: "We are disappointed that we have lost this stage of the court process and we are considering an appeal."

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