• MySTV

Rangers oldco victory in big tax case contained 'errors in law'

Upper tier tax tribunal reveals former Gers boss Alex McLeish received property as part of his EBT.

Rangers fans handed Ibrox bans

A tax tribunal ruling that payments made to some Rangers players and staff were loans contained "errors in law", an appeal hearing has heard.

The claim by HM Revenue and Customs came as it opened its appeal against the decision in the so-called "Big Tax Case" on Monday.

The case was one of the key developments which led to the financial collapse of Rangers oldco.

Facing a potential bill of £36.6m from the HMRC over its use of employee benefit trusts (EBTs), RFC 2012 plc failed to reach a deal with its creditors and went into administration and then into liquidation.

However, a tribunal eventually ruled in November 2012 that the payments to the trusts could be treated as loans and the tax bill should be "significantly reduced".

On Monday, HMRC's counsel, Roderick Thomson QC, argued that several determinations made by the majority in the initial ruling failed to consider all points of evidence and their cumulative effect.

He stated amounts of evidence had been written off as irrelevant by the majority decision, which found in favour of Rangers oldco by two to one.

Mr Thomson also argued that, in certain parts, the majority decision failed to show the "slightest hint" of understanding HMRC's initial case.

The beneficiaries of EBTs, including high-profile players and management staff, were not named in the original tribunal hearings.

However, this will change for the majority as the appeal case is being held in public. No witnesses will be called during the appeal hearing.

It emerged at Monday's hearing that in addition to receiving cash via an EBT from Rangers, former manager Alex McLeish - referred to as Mr Violet in the initial determination - also had a flat bought for him by the trust.

Four weeks have been set aside for the case at the upper tax tribunal, which unlike the first tribunal is being held in public. No date has been set for the final outcome to be delivered.

HMRC had sought £36.6m from the Rangers oldco for PAYE and national insurance for its use of EBTs from 2001 and 2010.

It also alleged that four companies related to Sir David - Murray Group Holdings Ltd, Murray Group Management Ltd, the Premier Property Group Ltd and GM Mining Ltd – owed a further £10m in unpaid taxes on the EBT payments.

The companies had successfully argued that the loans paid via EBTs were recoverable and, as such, did not amount to remuneration for employment.

The Rangers oldco is currently in liquidation, having failed to secure a company voluntary arrangement with its creditors in June 2012.

The company's assets were subsequently sold to a new company, allowing the club to continue as a functioning member of the Scottish Football Association after the governing body approved a transfer of membership between the two.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.