The Tax Disciplinary Panel have received a complained from TaxWatch about the conduct of a tax advisor to Rangers Football Club (now in liquidation), who was named in the findings in Murray Group Holdings v HMRC case – The Big Tax Case. The published report anonymised names, identifying “Mr Red” as a Chartered Tax Advisor and former Inspector of Taxes.
In 2017, long after the club went into liquidation, the Supreme Court found that Rangers’ Employee Benefit Trusts were disguised renumeration and that tax should have been paid on them.
As TaxWatch report:
“In her dissenting judgment, Dr Heidi Poon records how Mr Red wrote to HMRC denying the existence of documents that HMRC had requested under the a statutory request for information, writing in a letter “your belief in the existence of documents demonstrating how amounts contributed to the Trust are determined is irrational and unfounded. I cannot help with your fantasies and the production of a S20 makes no difference to this”.  In fact, the documents did exist and had been uncovered by a City of London Police raid on Ibrox Stadium in connection with an unrelated investigation.
“Concluding, Dr Poon stated that Mr Red’s behaviour went beyond what could be described as “a lack of candour”, she said: “It would be judicial to conclude that it had been obstructive and obscurantist, and there is evidence of active concealment of documents… to describe Mr Red as ‘somewhat defensive’ in giving his sworn testimony would be an understatement. On more than one occasion, Mr Red had attempted to mislead the Tribunal”.”
A lack of disciplinary action by the Chartered Institute of Tax allowed Mr Red to continue working in the field, despite the findings in fact disclosed at the Rangers Tax Case and the Institutes published code of conduct. That code now seems more if an aspiration than a reuirement.
In raising this complaint to the Tax Disciplinary Board, TaxWatch have highlighted not just the activities of one individual, but the dirty ‘Water some of the country’s largest companies is prepared to swim in. It also puts in dount the tax industry’s ability to regulate itself.