Supporters and former directors of the old Rangers Football Club were handed a pyrrhic victory over Revenue & Customs last night in the tax case that helped to close the business down.
To the grim satisfaction of the fans, a tax tribunal delivered a majority verdict on the club’s use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) over a decade, and found in Rangers favour.
HMRC had challenged what it claimed was an “orchestrated scheme”, arguing that £49 million in payments to players and staff amounted to wages, and was liable to tax. The tribunal ruled most of the payments were loans from the club, an outcome that will “substantially” reduce its bill for tax and national insurance contributions.
A world famous football club, driven into bankruptcy, by HMRC demanding, with menaces, more tax than was legally owed.
But of course we are meant never to challenge the taxman. Just to open our wallets and say “help yourself”.
So just what is Mr. Murphy’s view on a negative tax gap like the above?