Rangers overcharged £50 million after HMRC mistake

·Sports Writer
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: General view outside the stadium prior to the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on September 01, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Ibrox Stadium (Credit: Getty Images)

A £50 million mistake could be one of the major reasons Rangers were liquidated in 2012.

According to The Times, HM Revenue & Customs ‘overestimated’ the club’s tax bill by the enormous sum and has acknowledged that it claimed too much money when calculating the bill.

For the period between 2001 and 2010 Rangers were charged roughly £70 million, but it now appears that the figure should have been closer to £20 million, with HMRC now set to wipe the sum from the old operating company's tax bill.

John McClelland, who was chairman of the club between 2002 and 2004, said the tax bill in question prevented the club getting much-needed investment.

He said: "At the time of the sale of the club in 2011, had the tax claim been at the level now being reported then, the outcome would have been different.​

Rangers Vice-Chairman John McClelland (right) and Celtic Chief-Executive Iain McLeod arrive at Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, for a meeting of the clubs in the Scottish Premier League to discuss a future TV sponsorship deal.   *  A stalemate has already occurred over the live TV coverage of games next term after Rangers and Celtic both rejected proposals for an SPL TV channel at a meeting.   (Photo by Ben Curtis - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Rangers former chairman John McClelland (Credit: Getty Images)

"I believe there would certainly have been a much higher level of interest in acquiring it and therefore more potential buyers."​

While it’s not certain that the club would have survived in its older iteration without the blunder, McClelland believes that it would have been far more feasible to have continued to operate.

Craig Whyte bought for the club for £1 in 2011 when it was in financial turmoil and oversaw the eventual administration and liquidation. According to McClelland, other parties could have potentially invested alongside Whyte.

After four months in administration Rangers were liquidated and a ‘newco’ club was officially formed in the fourth tier of Scottish football after being voted back into the league structure. As a result, the club’s historic rivals Celtic have dominated the Scottish Premiership (previously named Scottish Premier League), winning every league title since.

The two clubs have consistently battled for supremacy, with Rangers winning three consecutive titles (from 2009-2011) just before they were wound up. Rangers made it back to the top flight in 2016 and are finally competing for the league again, but Celtic could equal Rangers’ record of nine consecutive titles if they are successful this season.

More to follow.

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