Fans accuse taxman of witch-hunt at 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 a director is being paid £1000 a day plus expenses.

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Rangers supporters groups have accused HMRC of a 'witch-hunt' again the Ibrox club
Rangers supporters groups have accused HMRC of a 'witch-hunt' again the Ibrox club

A leading supporters group has accused Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) of a waste of public money after it said yesterday it would appeal a decision by a First-Tier Tax Tribunal over the Ibrox club's controversial use of Employment Benefit Trusts (EBTs).

It insists Rangers are liable for a £46.2 million bill over the use of the loans to pay staff.

It also emerged that Rangers part-time financial consultant Philip Nash is being paid £1,000 a day plus expenses. Mr Nash works a maximum of 16 days a month.The former Arsenal and Liverpool administator's remuneration is around £200,000 a year.

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 they 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?

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

On Mr Nash's wages, he added: "Ibrox is crumbling, almost every area of the club needs investment, and yet we are seeing a part-time consultant take home at least £200,000 a year. It's ridiculous."

The appeal follows a decision on July 9 by upper tier tax tribunal judge Lord Doherty. He dismissed an appeal against a first-tier tax tribunal (FTT) decision.

HMRC has applied to the Inner House of the Court of Session for permission for another appeal as the cost of the case runs into millions.

It claimed the EBT payments should be taxable but Sir David Murray's Murray International Holdings (MIH), which formerly owned Rangers, has now twice successfully argued they were exempt.

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

Rangers would not comment on the tax case, but said Mr Nash is a "highly respected football administrator."

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