The news yesterday that HMRC would appeal the decision by the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) to reject the part of their tax demand against former club Rangers which was still open to dispute was received by most with passing interest. The FTT returned a split decision, with the minority view giving HMRC substantial grounds for an appeal, and as we have heard often in recent years, HMRC always pursue tax under various circumstances. Reasons include when they believe wrongdoing has occurred.
As such, it seemed strange that The Rangers chief executive, Charles Green, issued a statement on the subject yesterday as the on-going tax dispute “will have no affect (sic.) on us”. He also wrote “in the strongest possible terms to HMRC pointing out the futility of such an appeal”.
If Green expects HMRC to read this letter and to countenance a change of tact he has a regard for his own abilities which are, frankly, a little curious. No mere mortal could write a letter and bring about any change in such a dispute, which leads us to another question, is Charles Green a mere mortal, or does his aim occasionally stretch beyond his reach? I’m sure we’re not dealing with a Self-Certified-Superman.
The point to this exercise is that while Green’s newco is not liable for another company’s taxes, his football club inherited the SFA place vacated by Rangers, including pesky football liabilities. Fifa and SFA rules on paying social taxes are clear – avoid them illegally and face disciplinary action.
As the matter is on-going, the football authorities have yet to issue any disciplinary action for the non-payment of taxes for the five players Rangers conceded to the FTT. Should the courts ultimately decide in favour of HMRC for the balance of players still being disputed, a fresh wave of disciplinary measures would be due against Green’s club.
Last summer we discussed how the toxicity which was attached to the club Craig Whyte inherited, and then relinquished in a worse state, would make going forward as a Newco with any connection whatsoever to the SFA membership of Oldco very difficult. Many, including the Blue Knights consortium, concluded it didn’t look viable.
It still doesn’t. Scottish football needs to consider how to deal with the long term consequences of these matters.
[calameo code=00039017168219582ffc8 lang=en page=84 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]