Ladbrokes loses £71m tax case at Court of AppealReading Time: 1 minute

Ladbrokes has had its appeal over a £71m (€81m/$100m) decade-long tax battle with the UK tax authorities rejected by the Court of Appeal, according to City A.M.

The dispute between Ladbrokes and HMRC relates to a 2008 corporate tax scheme deployed by Ladbrokes and its accountancy partner Deloitte. The loophole, exploited by many corporations, was closed by the government that same year.

After HMRC began action Ladbrokes initially accepted it had aimed to avoid taxes and paid £71m.

It later sought to recoup the sum, but its claim was rejected by the UK Tribunal Court last February.

Having been given permission to take its case to the Court of Appeal, the court sided with HMRC having found that UK tax rules prevented Ladbrokes’ attempt at a tax advantage.

A spokesperson for Ladbrokes told City A.M: “We note the court ruling. This was a case regarding taxes already paid and accounted for, so while the case may have been given against us, it has no bearing on our numbers.

An HMRC spokesperson told City A.M: “We are pleased that the Court of Appeal supports HMRC’s view that Ladbrokes were attempting to avoid corporation tax. Avoidance schemes like this just don’t work and HMRC will always take firm action against them. HMRC wins nine out ten avoidance cases we take to court.

The UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) this week gave its approval to the proposed merger of GVC Holdings and Ladbrokes Coral Group.

In December 2017, GVC agreed to purchase Ladbrokes Coral in a deal worth up to £4bn and combine the two businesses.

Source: European Gaming Media and Events