Interesting angle in today’s Telegraph: “Celtic are the only club in Scotland, apart from Rangers, who are known to have used an EBT contract”. Why are we part of this conversation? Despite the millions of words written on the subject of EBTs over the last six years, there appears to be a curious misunderstanding about them.
Juninho arrived at Celtic with an EBT from earlier in his career. Celtic funded this Trust around the time the player left the club, informed HMRC about the transaction, and paid the tax due. No side letters (contracts) were issued with regard to this Trust. No information was hidden from HMRC or football authorities.
The conversation went a bit like this:
Celtic: Hi HMRC, Celtic here. We’ve paid Mr Juninho’s EBT £Xk. What is our tax position?
HMRC: £Yk tax is due on that payment.
Celtic: Thanks. Will pay today.
EBTs are in themselves not illegal, nor even immoral. They were introduced to allow employers a framework to give loans to employees. Many employers, formally or informally, give loans to employees to cover everything from crises to Christmas expenses. Or migration expenses, which is occasionally the case in football. That some use EBTs to attempt to put income beyond the reach of taxation is a reflection on those clubs, not others who openly declare EBT payments to HMRC and pay any corresponding tax.
The newspaper goes on to offer a defence against HMRC, almost as though it was dictated from David Murray himself: “it is believed that one argument against the supposition that Rangers secured players by means of EVTs (sic.) is that a range of variable inducements were in operation at that time and not only at Ibrox.
“Other avoidance schemes involved investment in such vehicles as film production companies and forestry development.”
Yes, a range of other inducements were available – legal ones. Other people legally used other schemes. It’s clarity of thought like this being a defence of Rangers that which put them into such a mess to begin with.
Delighted to read Rangers Tax Case back with such insight last night. Catch up with him here if you missed it.