FORMER Rangers chairman Sir David Murray has expressed his disappointment at the Supreme Court's verdict after the Ibrox club lost their long-running dispute over a tax avoidance scheme.
Lord Hodge announced in court that five Supreme Court judges had unanimously dismissed an appeal by the liquidators of oldco Rangers, ruling in favour of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
About £50 million was paid to dozens of Rangers players and staff through an EBT scheme administered by the Murray Group, then majority shareholder of the Glasgow club, from 2001 to 2009. The club contended these should be classified as loans but HMRC insisted they were taxable earnings.
In a statement issued to the Press Association, Sir David said: "I am hugely disappointed that the Supreme Court has upheld the decision of the Court of Session, reversing the decisions of the specialist tax First Tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal in this matter.
"The decision runs counter to the legal advice which was consistently provided to Rangers Football Club, that on the basis of the law and legal precedent at the time, the contributions made to the trust were not earnings and should not be taxed as such.
"It should be emphasised that there have been no allegations made by HMRC or any of the courts that the club was involved in tax evasion, which is a criminal offence.
"The decision will be greeted with dismay by the ordinary creditors of the club, many of which are small businesses, who will now receive a much lower distribution in the liquidation of the club, which occurred during the ownership of Craig Whyte, than may otherwise have been the case.
"I have not had the opportunity to discuss the decision in detail with Tax Counsel, but will do so, particularly in light of proposed legislation, which will alter the tax position applying to loans made by trusts to employees. Once the impact has been assessed, a further statement will be issued."
The result will mean the creditors of RFC2012 will receive less money from the pot collected by liquidators BDO, as HMRC will now be owed even more money. Rangers, then run by Craig Whyte, went into administration in February 2012 over a separate tax debt and the tax authority rejected a creditors agreement in June of that year.
The result is a major victory for HMRC in its attempts to recoup tax from thousands of other companies which ran EBTs and similar schemes, which were the subject of a crackdown in legislation enacted in 

Girning Gers (09/08/14)


'Girning' is an good Scots word which means to complain in a whining and irritating fashion - and that's exactly what slung to mind when I read this piece in The Herald about the 'greetin' faced Rangers fans who are accusing HM Customs & Revenue of a witch hunt against the Glasgow club.

Now I've nothing against Rangers although a section of their support could do with lessons about how not to act as sectarian, religious bigots in 21st century Scotland, as could a section of the Celtic support to be fair. 

But that's beside the point because the real issue is that by using aggressive tax avoidance measures Rangers FC are accused of withholding a huge sum of money, in the region of £80 million, which would otherwise have gone towards paying for public services.

And as I understand the Rangers scheme it involved paying some of their players and other club figures by way of  enormous 'loans' which had the peculiar feature of never having to be repaid.  

I'd love to be paid like that, I'd have to admit, because such a 'loan' is not taxable so I'd be saving myself a fortune although I'd have to concede that it isn't really a loan at all, just a rather wizard wheeze to avoid me and my employer paying any tax.

So I have to say 'stop your girning Rangers fans' because in the real world normal, reasonable people have no time for this kind of nonsense.

Fans accuse the taxman of witch hunt against Rangers
RANGERS fans have accused the taxman of prolonging a witch hunt against the club over the so-called Big Tax Case on the day it emerged one director is being paid £1000-a-day plus expenses.

A leading supporters' group has accused Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of wasting public money after it said yesterday it would make a fresh appeal over the case.
It is to contest a decision by a First-Tier Tax Tribunal over the Ibrox club's controversial use of Employment Benefit Trusts (EBTs). It is insisting Rangers are liable for a £46.2 million bill over the use of the loans to pay players, managers and other staff.

It has also emerged that Rangers' part-time financial consultant Philip Nash is being paid £1000 a day, plus expenses.

Mr Nash works a maximum of 16 days a month from England. The former Arsenal and Liverpool administator's pay is £200,000 a year, comparable to that of controversial former finance officer Brian Stockbridge. Mr Nash sits on the board but does not take a director's fee.

Chris Graham of the Union of Fans said the "witch hunt" pursuit of the "phantom tax debt" by HMRC was a waste of public money at a time when HMRC will not discuss whether a public inquiry should be held into allegations the club's tax affairs were leaked.
He said: "HMRC have had two goes at this. How many times do they have to be told they don't have a case here? A line should be drawn under this now and they should just give it a rest."

Mr Graham added: "It's interesting they are spending so much time and money attempting to win the Big Tax Case but when asked by shareholders, fans, even MPs about even an internal inquiry into where the Rangers tax information came from, HMRC completely blank them.

"They are spending an awful lot of taxpayers' money on lawyers in pursuing this but yet won't answer questions about where [the leaks] came from."

On Mr Nash's wages, he said: "Ibrox is crumbling, Murray Park is crumbling, almost every area of the club, on and off the pitch, needs investment, revenues are down and yet we are seeing a part-time consultant take home at least £200,000 a year and our CEO, Graham Wallace, earn a possible £630,000. It's ridiculous."

"It's in keeping with what we've seen over the past two years with executives taking huge payments out the club for … no tangible benefit."

The HMRC appeal follows a decision on July 9 by Upper-Tier Tax Tribunal judge Lord Doherty. He dismissed its appeal against a First-Tier Tax Tribunal (FTT) decision in the Big Tax Case.

HMRC has sought leave to appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session, as the cost of pursuing the case runs into millions of pounds.

HMRC claimed the EBT payments should be taxable but Sir David Murray's Murray International Holdings (MIH), which used to own Rangers, has now twice successfully argued they were loans and therefore exempt.

Many believe the case led to Lloyds Banking Group insisting the club debts were cleared, resulting in a disastrous sale to disgraced venture capitalist Craig Whyte, the subsequent liquidation, and the decision to put Rangers in the Third Division as punishment.

An HMRC spokesman said it "continues to believe that schemes using Employee Benefit Trusts to avoid tax do not work. Around 700 users of EBT schemes have already settled with us resulting in around £800m of tax and National Insurance contributions being paid. We expect more to settle."

It has been alleged 63 Rangers players and 24 other staff got EBT payments.
Rangers would not comment on the tax case, but said Mr Nash was a "highly respected football administrator" who made a valuable contribution to building a successful Rangers.