Rangers: HMRC loses appeal over ruling in Big Tax Case

Rangers FC A verdict delivered by the first-tier tribunal in November 2012 favoured, in principle, the position of the Murray Group, which formerly owned Rangers

HM Revenue and Customs has lost its appeal over Rangers' use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) - the so-called "Big Tax Case".

Upper tier tribunal judge Lord Doherty dismissed the appeal against a first-tier tax tribunal decision but referred several issues back to the panel.

The tax authority had argued that payments made to players and other employees should be taxable.

The Murray Group, which formerly owned Rangers, argued they were loans.

The first-tier tribunal (FTT) had issued a 2-1 majority verdict in November 2012 which favoured, in principle, the Murray Group and ordered that HMRC's £46.2m demands, about three-quarters of which referred to the liquidated club, be "reduced substantially".

The upper-tier appeal has largely upheld that verdict but some payments will be re-examined by the original tribunal, including termination and "guaranteed bonus" payments.

Start Quote

It is obvious that the much publicised existence of these proceedings overshadowed Rangers Football Club for many years and tarnished the external perception of its value”

End Quote Murray International Holdings

However, the Murray Group appeared to secure an additional victory relating to payments made to several people including former Ibrox chairman Sir David Murray, which it argued were not special cases.

The judgement, which has no impact on the current Rangers owners, reads: "The appeal is dismissed except in so far as it relates to the termination payments.

"I shall remit the case to the FTT with a direction to allow the taxpayers' appeals against the assessments relating to the payments to the sub-trusts of Sir David Murray, his sons, Mr McClelland and Mr MacMillan; to proceed as accords in relation to the termination payments, the payments in respect of guaranteed bonuses, and any related questions of grossing up.

"Standing my findings and my disposal, the remit should be to the FTT as originally constituted."

It is unclear how many termination payments were made but the FTT's decision referred to five "guaranteed bonus" payments.

In a statement, a spokesman for Murray International Holdings (MIH) expressed satisfaction with the ruling but said there were no winners.

He said: "We are pleased with the judgement which again leaves negligible tax liability and overwhelmingly supports the views collectively and consistently held by our advisers, legal counsel and MIH itself.

"We will therefore review the detailed content of the decision with our legal counsel and advisers to ascertain what action, if any, is now required by MIH.

"The decision substantially reduces HMRC's claim in the liquidation of the old Rangers Football Club.

'Expensive process'

"While we have been successful in both the FTT and UTT, there are, as we have stated previously, no victors.

"This has been an exceptionally long, difficult and expensive process involving not just the FTT and UTT but also several approaches to resolve the with senior HMRC officials on a commercially sensible basis for all parties which were rejected."

The spokesman said MIH had, at all times, recognised that the tax tribunal proceedings stemmed from arrangements put in place during its ownership.

They were introduced before legislative changes removed the tax efficiency of such arrangements from the end of 2010, he added.

But he said: "However, it is obvious that the much publicised existence of these proceedings overshadowed Rangers Football Club for many years and tarnished the external perception of its value.

"There can be little doubt that despite favourable legal opinion, potential acquirers were therefore dissuaded from pursuing their interest during a period in which we were marketing the sale of MIH's shareholding.

"The case has also stimulated extensive press and social media comment, discussion and speculation, a significant quantity of which has been ill informed."

The spokesman said it would have been "entirely inappropriate" for MIH to have highlighted "fundamental misunderstandings or contribute to this public debate" during the legal proceedings.

He added: "Notwithstanding all of this, it is abundantly clear that Rangers Football Club would not have gone into administration or liquidation had the purchaser fulfilled its contractual obligations and responsibilities.

"Similar to the resolution of the UTT appeal, we hope that the relevant authorities conclude their investigations and commence proceedings at the earliest opportunity."

A spokesman for HMRC said: "We are naturally disappointed with today's decision and are considering an appeal."

HMRC has one month to decide whether or not to seek permission to lodge an appeal with the Inner House of the Court of Session.

Rangers began using the EBT scheme while under the control of Sir David Murray.

He sold the club for £1 to Scottish businessman Craig Whyte in 2011, while the tax liability was in dispute.

Rangers were subsequently forced into administration by HMRC in February 2012, over non-payment of tax totalling about £14m, while under Mr Whyte's control.

HMRC subsequently rejected proposals for a creditors agreement that would have prevented Rangers from going into liquidation.

Rangers released a statement in response to the decision on their website.

It said: "Rangers Football Club Limited (the "Club") notes the findings of Lord Doherty in the HMRC case against Rangers Football Club plc (Oldco) and shares the views of many fans that so much of what later ensued at our club following the start of that investigation was avoidable.

"We are pleased to see the end of this sorry chapter in the history of Rangers FC, yet our greatest sympathy is with those who felt the pain of the last four years the most - our supporters.

"In spite of almost unrelenting attacks and setbacks they have never flinched from supporting their football club with all their energy and resolve.

"It is a matter for the authorities to explain their actions during this entire period that has seen the good name of Rangers severely damaged.

"Our focus is on rebuilding the football club and getting Rangers back to where we belong. That, in itself, will help right some of the wrongs our club and supporters have suffered over the last four years."

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    John Hastings

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    Jen McIntosh silver
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    Andrew Robertson Dundee United

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    One to watch 16:11:

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    dan wallace

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    Mountain biking 16:00:

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    Packing a punch 15:55:

    Reece McFadden is guaranteed a medal in the flyweight boxing after winning his quarter final.

    reece mcfadden
    15:45: Via Twitter

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    Usain bolt with royals
    Prince Puncher 15:34:

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    Prince Harry tries his hand at boxing as he and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, visit a Coach Core project at Gorbals Leisure Centre in Glasgow, Scotland
    Final support 15:34:

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    michael jamieson
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    david wilkie with lisa summers
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    mountain bike
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    palmerston place

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    English long jumper Greg Rutherford poses with fans

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    frankie baines
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    Best ever Games 14:30:

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    Here they are 14:22: Jane Lewis BBC Scotland

    And here they are - Silver medal in the Mens gymnastic team event for Scotland.

    men's gynnastics scotland team

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    History boys 14:20: Kheredine Idessane BBC Scotland

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    Half-time 14:11: Via Twitter

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    Scotland break Games record 14:03:

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    danny macaskill

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    sarah adlington
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    Glasgow 2014 fans at Ibrox
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    Let me take a selfie 13:28:

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    Mikail Huggins with Jane Lewis

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    Real McCoy pub

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    Eilidh on track for medal 13:09:

    Glasgow 2014 poster girl Eilidh Child won her 400m hurdles heat emphatically, with a time of 55.56.

    Eilidh Child

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    Caleb, Ollie and Phoebe Brown recreate the Commonwealth Games in their garden

    We want to hear about your inspirational moments - either on or off the field. Tweet us using #ScotlandLive, email us or text 80295.

    If you go out in the woods today 12:38: Via Twitter

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    Cathkin Braes
    Refunds for Games fans 12:24:

    People who missed Commonwealth Games events due to transport problems in and around Glasgow at the weekend have been told they can apply for refunds.

    Crowds around Hampden for Glasgow 2014

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    At the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre, Scotland's Jon Hammond and Neil Stirton have both qualified for the final of the 50m rifle 3 position. The final starts at 15:30 BST.

    In the wrestling, Brian Harper was defeated by Shane Parker in the round of 16.

    Daniel Wallace

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    Wallace monumental 12:01: Via Twitter BBC Sport Scotland

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    Wallace wins race at Glasgow 2014
    Badminton mishap 11:56:

    Badminton can be a dangerous game, it seems.

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    Jim Gauld hit in face with shuttlecock

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    On today's show 11:50: John Beattie BBC Scotland

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    House price rise 11:30:

    Average house prices in Scotland have risen by 5.9%, according to the latest figures from Registers of Scotland.

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    Nigerian athlete fails drugs test 11:21: Via Twitter Chris McLaughlin Commonwealth Games reporter, BBC Sport

    tweets: Nigerian weightlifter Chika Amalaha becomes the first athlete to fail a drugs test during #Glasgow2014 Games.

    Harry photobomb 11:07:

    Following the Queen's unexpected photobomb of the Aussie team last week, it seems Prince Harry wants a piece of the action too.

    Prince Harry photobomb

    The prince gave a cheeky thumbs up to Glasgow 2014 after finding his way in to this Commonwealth Games Federation picture.

    Have you been photobombed by a royal? Or an athlete? Tweet us your pics using #ScotlandLive, or email them here.

    Highlights from day five 10:48:

    BBC Scotland's Andy Burke rounds up yesterday's Commonwealth Games highlights for the host nation.

    Libby Clegg

    His video features Libby Clegg, Laura Muir, Ross Murdoch, Joe Ham, lawn bowls, shooting and gymnastics.

    The germ-spreading handshake - your views 10:43: Via SMS

    Norrie: If folk would just wash their hands there would be no problems. What next? Ban kissing and rubbing noses!!

    Helen in Cumbernauld: Get a life, what about our exposure and handling of coins, money, keyboards, mobile phones and chopping boards in our kitchens? They probably contain more bacteria. Good hand washing and building immunity would b better.

    Jim Robb: This is getting silly. Wash your hands at the appropriate time and live a little!

    Wrestling action 10:33: Via Twitter BBC Sport Scotland

    tweets: Watch live wrestling featuring Scots Ross McFarlane, Brian Harper, and Donna and Fiona Robertson.

    Spectacular stunts 10:22:

    Stunt rider Danny MacAskill will perform some spectacular tricks as part of the BBC at the Quay entertainment festival from 11.00.

    Danny MacAskill

    If you're a classical music lover, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra will be playing scores from Hollywood movies such as ET, Superman and Jurassic Park at Glasgow Green between 14:00 and 15:00.

    There will also be a Prom concert featuring folk singer Rachel Sermanni from 18:30.

    Stop and search - your views 10:08: Via SMS

    H in Edinburgh: Just let police do their job. We can't do without them. If you have nothing to hide then nothing to fear.

    Al in Edinburgh: The new police state Police Scotland imposing Strathclyde policies on a one-fits-all basis is alienating the public.

    Mags: I have no problems with stop and search. It's just like CCTV, if you have nothing to hide then what's the problem? Some people talk about CCTV being an infringement on our rights but how many criminals, sex attackers etc have been caught on camera?

    Murder charge 09:55:

    Police Scotland say the attack on Edinburgh pensioner Eleanor Whitelaw in her Morningside home is now being treated as murder.

    Robert Buczek, 23, was initially charged with attempted murder and assault to severe injury and danger of life when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday.

    Mrs Whitelaw, 85, was taken to hospital two weeks ago, but it was announced earlier this morning that she had died.

    A lasting legacy? 09:41:

    Last week we asked you to help us track down pupils from Glasgow's St Mungo's Academy in Bridgeton, who spoke to the BBC in 2007, just minutes before the city found out its bid to host the Commonwealth Games had been successful.

    With your help we found them.

    Sean Bell and Hayley Mitchell

    They were the east end's new generation, who could be in line to benefit from promises of jobs, homes and new opportunities - if the Games came to Glasgow.

    So, did the Games deliver? Find out here.

    Pensioner found injured dies 09:30:

    An 85-year-old woman who was found seriously injured in her Edinburgh home has died.

    Eleanor Whitelaw was taken to hospital two weeks ago after being found in her Morningside home.

    The morningside home of Eleanor Whitelaw

    Robert Buczek, 23, was charged with attempted murder and assault to severe injury and danger of life when he appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday.

    He made no plea or declaration and was remanded in custody.

    Legia Warsaw 'step up' 09:25:

    Celtic's assistant manager John Collins has told BBC Scotland Legia Warsaw will be a "step up" from KR Reykjavik.

    Speaking at Glasgow Airport as the team flew out to Poland for tomorrow night's Champions League qualifier, Collins said: "There's no doubt it's going to be a tough match.

    John Collins

    "We watched them last week in Dublin. Good team - they scored four goals so at this stage of the tournament you're not going to play against any mugs. There's no doubt it's a step up in quality from Reykjavik.

    "It's better to play them away from home first then get them back to Murrayfield. But we're going to have to play well - they're organised, they're quite quick and they score goals."

    Celtic's match tomorrow kicks off at 19:45, with the return leg in Edinburgh on 6 August.

    Morning Call 09:18: Louise White Presenter, Morning Call

    This morning we're taking your views on stop and search - does the system affect your trust in the police?

    We're also going to talking about curbing the spread of germs - is it time to end the handshake?

    Lines are open now. Call 0500 92 95 00, text 80295 or email morningcallscotland@bbc.co.uk

    You can listen live to the debate here.

    Newspaper review 09:14:

    Scotland's record-equalling haul of medals at Glasgow 2014 dominates the front pages on most of the country's newspapers this morning.

    Front pages 29 July
    Footie gossip 09:01:

    Away from the Games, Celtic look to add to the signing of Inge Berget with a Haitian midfielder, while Rangers fans are angry at an apparent secret plan to sell Murray Park.

    Murray Park

    Read all your Scottish football gossip here.

    More medal hopes 08:46:

    Shooting, athletics, swimming, cycling and gymnastics... could Scotland win one more medal to make it our best ever Commonwealth Games?

    Daniel Purvis in action at Glasgow 2014

    Find out what's on when today for Scots athletes.

    Gary and Libby 08:39:

    Scots gold medal winner Libby Clegg is currently chatting with Good Morning Scotland's Gary Robertson.

    Gary Robertson and Libby Clegg

    Listen live here.

    Golden moments 08:35:

    It has been a memorable week for Scotland with medals galore at the Commonwealth Games.

    Kimberley and Louise Renicks

    Re-live some of those special moments in our picture gallery.

    Cathkin Braes travel 08:24: Via Twitter Games Travel 2014

    tweets: Shuttles buses for #Cathkin Braes ticket holders will run from Cowcaddens Rd behind Buchanan Bus Station from 08:00.

    Driver killed in crash 08:24:

    A driver has been killed in a two-car road crash on the A87 at Druim nan Cleochd on the Isle of Skye.

    The collision took place at about 16:20 on Monday.

    Travel round-up 08:11:

    If you are coming to Glasgow by train, Central, Argyle Street, Queen Street, Exhibition Centre and Mount Florida stations are all going to be extremely busy.

    And don't forget it takes about 15 minutes - probably longer given the crowds - to walk to Hampden from the Battlefield area where the railway station is.

    You can also get to the athletics at Hampden by shuttle bus from Shield Road subway station and Buchanan Bus Station, or take the scheduled services 4, 5, 6 or 7.

    Cathkin Braes Country Park is hosting the mountain biking competition from this afternoon, with shuttle buses dropping off and picking up on the south-bound Carmunnock Road where one lane will be closed. Factor in about 40 minutes or so to get to the spectator plaza.

    Drivers on the M8, M77 and M74 should also expect very busy morning and afternoon peaks with J15 and J19 on the M8, the M8/M74 interchange and M74 at J1A expected to be particularly busy.

    08:06: Via Twitter BBC Breakfast

    tweets: Lord Smith of Kelvin tells us #glasgow2014 will arrange compensation for people who missed CWG events due to travel problems. Apply online.

    Anything you can do, I can do better 08:00:

    Yesterday on Scotland Live, we enjoyed a 41-shot rally in the table tennis tournament at Glasgow 2014 between Nigeria's Segun Toriola and Singapore's Ning Gao.

    The badminton stars went one better - well, 18 better in fact.

    Mixed team final between Malaysia and England in badminton at Glasgow 2014

    Enjoy this 59-shot rally at the mixed team final between Malaysia and England.



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