The Upper Tribunal (Tax) has on its list a case of great interest to the football fans of Scotland.
Well, actually it is listed as five separate appeals, which will however be heard at the one time.
HMRC is listed as being the appellant against the following respondents:-
- The former Rangers Football Club PLC (now RFC 2012 PLC) (in liquidation
- GM Mining Ltd
- Premier Property Group Ltd
- Murray Group Management Ltd
- Murray Group Holdings Ltd
This provides one explanation for the decision of HMRC to continue with the appeal, despite the demands by Rangers fans to stop the tax man’s “persecution” of Rangers. We have heard people talking about the “waste of money” involved in HMRC continuing to pursue the case, and indeed the taxman has been accused of a “vendetta”. Brian Donohoe MP, who entirely by coincidence is, or was, the Secretary of the Rangers Supporters Club at the Houses of Parliament, has been vocal in his criticism of the “waste of money” involved in pursuing the case.
Apart from the liquidated Rangers oldco, the case is against 4 parties, all of which are still in existence. There are issues of important legal precedent to be confirmed or overturned in an appeal.
But there is also the prospect, even ignoring the unrecoverable sums which could be due by oldco Rangers, of the taxman recovering substantial sums from the other respondents.
When therefore can we expect this appeal to be heard?
The Upper Tribunal website lists pending appeals.
This discloses the date of receipt of the appeal at the Tribunal and the date fixed for the hearing.
There are a couple of appeals lodged in January and February 2013 where appeals have been fixed for March NEXT YEAR.
Appeals lodged back in December 2012 are listed for March 2014 as well.
The Rangers appeal, lodged at the Tribunal following the First Tier Tribunal granting leave to appeal, was received on 28th January 2013.
There are various appeals in line before the Rangers case. It therefore seems not unreasonable to think that the Rangers appeal might not take place until well into 2014, and in fact it is perfectly possible that it will be in the second half of next year.
Whilst the FTT case took many days, the appeal is likely only to take two or three days – the facts are not in dispute (or more properly open to challenge) – rather it is the interpretation of the facts and the application of the law which is at issue. That therefore takes a lot less time than hearing all of the evidence.
We are looking therefore at refreshing our memories about EBTs around the summer of next year, maybe during the European Championships.
Of course, once the hearing happens, the Tribunal will still have to consider its verdict, which will undoubtedly take some weeks, or probably months, before the result is announced.
And then we have the prospects of further appeals to the Inner House of the Court of Session and finally (subject of course to any changes which occur as a result of the independence referendum) to the UK Supreme Court.
The question is what form of “Rangers” will exist by the time this ends …
Posted by Paul McConville