Rangers: Former players and staff urged to seek tax advice over EBTs

Ibrox Stadium
Former Rangers players and staff have been contacted over tax liabilities

Former Rangers players and staff paid through an offshore trust have been told they have weeks to approach the taxman over a settlement or face an even bigger bill.

Last year the Supreme Court upheld a Court of Session ruling that £47m paid to Rangers employees between 2001-2010 was liable for tax.

Now beneficiaries of the Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs), many of whom were led to believe these were loans that would never have to be repaid, are being warned to seek "urgent advice".

BBC Scotland has seen a letter sent earlier this month by Trident Trust, a Jersey-based company, which paints a stark picture.

The letter says: "HMRC has confirmed that it will seek to recover all income tax found by the Supreme Court to be due and that, where HMRC is unable to recover the tax from the employer, it may transfer the liability for unpaid tax...to employees or former employees."

While HM Revenue and Customs can still pursue BDO - the liquidators of RFC 2012 Plc - for a portion of what the company owed, more could be salvaged by pursuing the former employees.

That could put many on the hook for hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds.

Former captain Barry Ferguson received £2.5m in EBT payments, German goalkeeper Stefan Klos £2m and former manager - and current Scotland boss - Alex McLeish £1.7m, while former owner Sir David Murray received £6.3m.

And time could be running out to try to negotiate a deal, according to the trust's letter.

The trust says further charges will be applied by HMRC if tax liabilities have not been settled by 5 April next year.

And to do that, it says, those in question will have to approach HMRC by 30 September this year.

The letter adds: "If you do not come forward voluntarily and seek to settle on preferential terms, HMRC could well pursue you directly and make an assessment on a less favourable basis."

Trident Trust stresses it is not offering advice, rather urging the players and staff involved to seek expert advice on how to deal with the situation.

HMRC said: "Follower notice (FN) legislation says that HMRC has 12 months to issue FNs following a final decision. The final decision in Rangers was on 5 July 2017. We have looked at a range of schemes where the principles at stake were similar, and follower notices have been issued where appropriate."

BBC Scotland has contacted Trident for a response.

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