Rangers say HMRC report ‘a cause for concern’ if accurate

15 November 2019, 18:12 | Updated: 15 November 2019, 18:36

Rangers say a newspaper report which claims HMRC made a £50m "blunder" with regards to their tax bill "is a cause for concern" if accurate and will take time to consider potential action.

On Thursday, The Times reported "up to £50m is set to be wiped off the tax bill" related to the club's use of employee benefit trusts, or EBTs, after HMRC reportedly acknowledged it had claimed for too much.

The newspaper reported accountancy sources now believe the outstanding bill was nearer to £20m, with the club's former chairman John McClelland believing "the outcome would have been different" had that figure been known to interested buyers before Rangers' financial collapse under Craig Whyte in 2012.

HMRC has refuted claims it miscalculated the tax demand.

A Rangers statement said: "The Times story, if it is shown to be accurate, throws up a great many questions and is a cause for concern.

"Rangers will take time to consider any courses of action which may become feasible."

In a brief statement on its press office Twitter account, HMRC said: "As widely reported today and to clarify: HMRC won against Rangers' tax avoidance in the Supreme Court, and did not miscalculate anything."

The Ibrox club were forced into administration in February 2012 over non-payment of PAYE totalling around £14m during the ownership of Whyte, and, after a CVA proposal was rejected by HMRC, the club's former operating company was liquidated in October of that year.

Whyte bought Rangers from former owner David Murray for £1 in 2011 as HMRC continued to investigate over the club's use of EBTs.

A statement from accountancy firm BDO, appointed as liquidator, said negotiations are ongoing with HMRC regarding the bill.

"Since we published the last creditors report in June, BDO's tax specialists have been negotiating with HMRC over the size of the tax bill," a BDO statement read.

"There is no final decision, negotiations are ongoing and we expect a resolution of this in 2020."