A look through the comments section of the Rangers liquidation articles on this web site will show that most were arguing that the liquidation never had any merit and was just a way avoiding paying debts that the club could afford, but wouldn't, as it would mean a future paying Hibs or Dundee level wages and falling behind Celtic. The fact Rangers won the case, meaning most of the estimated debt was not due is as funny to the causal observer as Celtic's current league form.
But like many, I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that the loans will not be pursued. If HMRC or other creditors are still found to be owed substantial money, can they demand the liquidators pursue all debtors?
As I understand it it wasn't this 'big' tax case that did for Rangers but the 'small' tax case of unpaid PAYE and NI. Rngers did not have enough money to pay this. HMRC refused to accept a fraction of the amount due via administration so the company was liquidated. HMRC may well decide not to pursue the 'big' tax case any further as there is no chance of getting any money.
"Noxious and hate-filled"? What, you mean like the kind of person who would commit crimes against humanity? Are you reading this on your laptop?
As Bart and Lisa would say, I know you are but what am I?
Don't worry, Macca, there will be plenty Rangers fans who think I'm being snidey in having a go only at "laptop Celtic fans" - as if I'm saying there are actually some Celtic fans out there who're okay!!
And the big boys who did it were, for me, the knee-jerk loyal within the Rangers support. You come across as a fan of my rants so while you haven't noticed my complete lack of triumphalism in this instance, nor my cognisance of who it was who brought the whole EBT affair to Ibrox in the first place, maybe you'll remember me previously talking about the "we deserve better" crowd pushing Sir Dave to the point where he HAD to employ a tax dodge to give them the impossible glories on a budget they were demanding.
Yes, the reason for administration was the small tax case but the biggest reason for the lack of buyers to take on the club was surely the threat of a massive tax bill hanging over the club. Why would anyone invest in a club that could possibly be over 100 million in debt. That led to Green going down the only road feasible for him at that point, liquidation.
The Tribunal verdict is hardly a game changer, given that aside from this contested bill Rangers owed something in the region of £86 million. So the final nail (albeit the biggest) in the coffin hasn't been nailed, but the coffin's still there all the same and already six feet (or 3 divisions) under.
As for HMRC making an example of Rangers, that is somewhat unfounded. It was BBC Scotland Investigates that did that, and all they did was make known who benefited from this scheme.
What still mystifies is that the flittering away of such a large amount of money by a club that couldn't afford it, whether it was legal or not, was suicidal. No official intervention can deflect from the fact that Rangers sowed the seeds for their own downfall, not HMRC or the BBC.
"However, the cloud of financial fragility which accommodated Whyte’s asset-stripping came from a projected ruling in favour of HMRC in this epic dispute."
Not so - Whyte himself said that it was not the prospect of an unfavourable initial ruling, but rather the prospect of HMRC appealing and appealing again if necessary. And as HMRC looks likely to appeal, the uncertainty will continue for some time to come. The sense of triumphalism over a first instance tribunal decision is entirely misplaced, especially given the identity of the opponents.
"No Rangers fan doubts tax avoidance is immoral"
I beg to differ - tax evasion is immoral - tax avoidance is what you do to legally reduce your tax bill - are you trying to tell me that anyone who pays more than the minimum requirement into a pension fund or who invests in an ISA (both of which give you tax relief) is immoral? No - I didn't think so.
And with regards to the big tax case not leading to Rangers downfall - I believe it had EVERYTHING to do with it - when the liability was still in doubt no sane invester would step forward to take on the club - hence we were left with a criminal like Craig Whyte who came in and slammed home the nails in the coffin...
"Losing the club" hasn't been as taxing as one might think...
Luckily, there's ANOTHER club around that...
Plays at the same stadium as RANGERS
Wears the same jerseys as RANGERS
Carries the same badge as RANGERS
trains at the same complex as RANGERS
plays at the same stadium as RANGERS
sells the same merchandise as RANGERS
shares the massive support base of RANGERS
has the same trophy honours as RANGERS
lo and behold...
are even CALLED...... RANGERS!!
Anyone would think we hadn't "lose the club" at all. Fools.
"tax avoidance is what you do to legally reduce your tax bill"
That is also a murky subject becasue often the avoidance is not, as many papers have said, perfectly legal. It is presently untested in a court of law by the HRMC because they have quite a lot to deal with. Quite often new schemes are found to be illegal having previously been acceptable because it has taken time to work through the case.
@Jbulloch – I’m going to hide behind Lincoln’s response here, mate. Not just because I am by nature a colossal coward, but also because he’s put it so much better than I could. Tax evasion is ILLEGAL – but tax avoidance, certainly in this case, is immoral. Where you’ve got me is that probably not ALL tax avoidance is immoral.
I’ve never pretended to be any kind of accountant and one thing the last year has taught me is that I have absolutely no idea about the world of tax or finance. As soon as you started citing examples I immediately thought about all the cathedrals and castles I’ve visited on rainy summer holidays in years when I couldn’t afford to go abroad, and that little flap on the donation envelope where they ask you to fill in your name and address and tick a box which allows for some sort of tax relief on the restoration project or upkeep of the place (is it gift aid? Could Google it but then I’d come across like someone pretending to know what they’re talking about. Again). So – yeah – absolutely – I can see how not all tax avoidance is immoral. Fair dues.
On that subject – and, again, having a snidey hate-filled dig at every Celtic fan on the planet (and their families, pets and milkmen) – I’ve been amused by how many neo-marxists, avowed rebels and pseudo anti-establishmentarians on the football message boards and airwaves have, in the last couple of years, suddenly decided that they’re fully behind Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs pursuance of taxes. This mass conversion to the cause of “the Man” has been as revealing as the attitude of the 90-minute monarchists and royalists at Ibrox. Me no likey Her Majesty these days either
Yup - absolutely no triumphalism here, Chris - especially as this verdict could indeed be appealed and won by HMRC and ...well, all the other stuff I said in the piece. I also wrote a piece for the magazine when the club went into administration, stating Whyte's insistince that the Tax Man would appeal it again and again so there was no point doing so. Yet, love him or hate him, what we all know for sure about Whyte is that he's a criminal with an almost psychotic penchant for lying and he had absolutely no interest in doing anything other than driving the club into the ground as quickly as possible (christ, the desultory sum we got from Everton for jelavic was proof enough of that).
So aside from the fact his statements are utterly worthless, and that Rangers, like any other club, have every right and are almost duty bound to defend themselves on a legal point if they think HMRC are wrong, you've kinda missed my point: As Jbulloch is saying, below, the HMRC case - the projected debt a verdict for the tax man would bring - allowed Whyte to come in and do his thing.
As I've said elsewhere, i think the ultimate blame goes to a culture within the Rangers support which appeared around the turn of the millenium, which meant people were so determined to get rid of David Murray that he couldn't wait to go and eventually just said "right - fu** yese! You want ANY owner as long as it's not me? - well, have this guy".
I was not accusing you personally of triumphalism, but much of the media reaction has been exactly that.
However, while much of what Whyte said was nonsense, he was absolutely right about this one, and an appeal filed by HMRC will prove him so.
I haven't missed your point, I just don't agree with it. Murray has been adamant that he would win at tribunal since the outset; it is not just the potential verdict which deterred credible investors, but the continued uncertainty over a prolonged period of time.
fair dues, Chris - but I think HMRC will need to lose an appeal then lodge another one (and maybe even lose that and lodge a third) before Whyte's prediction of "continual" appeals is proven.
And it was the potential verdict - or the fact that the verdict remained "potential" - which created the "continued uncertainty over a prolonged period of time" so I think we're kinda agreeing on that.
Paying money into a pension fund or an ISA is not tax avoidance. Avoidance is always an artificial transaction. One that no sensible person would get involved with were it not for the tax saving, e.g. Company A owns companies B and C. A lends B £50m at 8%. However the interest is not to be paid to A but to C. B claims tax relief on the interest paid but C claims the money it receives is not taxable because there is no contract between B and C. This scheme does not work, but it gives you a flavour. Avoidance is only available to the rich. I never understand why there is no criticism of the players. They are paid amounts that most fans dare not even dream of but still want more. Every £ they 'avoid' you and I and others like us have to make up.
Rest easy Alex Anderson. When you gift aid a donation you do not get any tax relief. The charity gets the benefit by reclaiming the tax from HMRC.
"Losing the club has been horrendous – losing it on the basis of a debt that never was is downright unbearable."
Nobody lost a club on the basis of a debt that never was. Firstly, Rangers fans claim that the SFL3 Rangers is still the same club, and secondly the old one is being liquidated not on the basis of the Big Tax Case "debt", but a £61 million one that very much DOES exist, including £22m owed to HMRC on a completely different matter and £27m owed to Ticketus, as well as hundreds of smaller creditors who'll never see their money.
Didn't WSC used to have some sort of editorial standards?