Quoad ultra

Latin is a very useful language for professionals that deal in precision.

Because it is dead the meanings of words do not change. Like the glory that was Rome, it is set in stone.

That is why the professions of Medicine and Law explain themselves in Latin.

Hence the term Quoad ultra should have jumped up at anyone manning a news or sports desk in Glasgow yesterday.

All they read was “…the appeal is dismissed.”

It is what they wanted to read and they were told to ignore everything else.

By this morning the triumphant spin was off the radar.

I had thought that Lord Doherty might have sent the entire case back to the First Tier Tribunal.

However, instead he decided to send some of it back.

Here, for the avoidance of doubt is the decision:


Case remitted to the FTT (i) with a direction to allow the taxpayers’ appeals against the assessments relating to the payments to the sub-trusts of Sir David Murray, his sons, Mr McClelland, and Mr MacMillan; (ii) to proceed as accords in relation to the termination payments, the payments in respect of guaranteed bonuses, and any related questions of grossing up. Quoad ultra the appeal is dismissed.

So Hector won a partial ‘victory’ in that he can have another go in the First Tier Tribunal apropos (ii) and there might well be an interesting story working out of the “termination payments”, but that is for another day.

HMRC are now considering appealing the part of the case they did not win in the UTT.

How this can be trumpeted as a total victory for either side is beyond me.

HMRC stated:

“We are naturally disappointed with today’s decision and are considering an appeal.

“We win around 80 per cent of cases taken to litigation by the taxpayer.

“The company, Rangers Football Club Plc, did not go into liquidation because of this tax case.  It is a matter of public record that Rangers was placed in administration by its principal shareholder and director because it was unable to pay its creditors, including HMRC.

“HMRC voted against the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposed by the administration. Liquidation allows a full investigation into the conduct of the owners and financial officers of the company, which would not be possible in a CVA.

“The CVA needed to achieve at least 75% of support from creditors, by reference to the value of what was owed to each. As the HMRC debt exceeded 25% of the total value of creditors the CVA fell and the company placed into liquidation.   

“At the time of liquidation, published court papers showed that the undisputed tax that was owed by the company was approximately £21 million. This is an entirely separate issue from the amount in dispute due to the former owner of the club’s use of the EBT scheme.”

Both Lord Doherty and HMRC have been very precise here.

The Scottish mainstream media should try to emulate them because precision is a sine qua non of good journalism

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