HMRC win Rangers EBT case at the Supreme Court

As the bankruptcy Courts here in Belfast wind down for the summer recess, the Supreme Court in London yesterday delivered its long awaited judgement in a well publicised Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) case – the Rangers case.

And the decision went against the demised football club with the highest court in the land ruling unanimously in favour of HM Revenue & Customs, thus confirming that the club owed the Revenue a significant sum in unpaid taxes.

It is now over five years since The Rangers Football Club plc went into administration and later liquidation. In the time since then, the use of an Employee Remuneration Trust by the club has been considered by at least two HMRC tribunals and the Court of Session, with the direction of play going one way and then another in terms of Rangers’ favour or HMRC.

But yesterday’s judgement brought the matter to a close when five Supreme Court judges unanimously dismissed Rangers’ appeal concluding that amounts paid were earnings and should have been subjected to PAYE.

An estimated £47m was paid out by the club in the period under review; with the company now in liquidation the chances of recovery by HMRC are questionable.

The case will however have ramifications for other taxpayers involved in complex EBTs and other tax avoidance schemes with many now weighing up their options given the Revenue’s wide ranging powers to recover monies due in such matters.

If your client is concerned at their position following this judgement, please contact Gerard Gildernew at Gerard.Gildernew@gildernewandco.com or by telephone at 028 8772 4697.