How can Rangers FC resolve its problems with HMRC?

As I’m sure most accountants will be aware, Glasgow Rangers football club has got itself in a spot of bother with HMRC.

The owner of the club, Craig Whyte, used income tax that had been deducted from employees to run the club. It has been estimated that he owes HMRC around £15 million and the club was forced into administration earlier this year.

Duff and Phelps were appointed administrators of the club and they have now said HMRC might be owed a further £75 million if the Top Tier Tax Tribunal rules that the previous owner of the club committed tax evasion when he set up Employee Benefit Trusts.

The future of this once famous football club is very much in the balance. The two main bidders are said to favour the club going into liquidation and emerging as a new company.

Under normal circumstances, this would wipe the slate clean, but football clubs are slightly different. The players are the main assets and their terms of employment are legally protected. Furthermore, they are under no obligation to play for the new company because they are registered as a player for the current Rangers football club.

The players had agreed to accept a temporary cut in wages but this agreement ends at the end of May, at which time they return to their original contracted salary.

Will the players decide to cut their losses and run or will they stay in the hope that a buyer emerges who can return the club to its former glory? It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds!

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