Rank Group faces £15m bill as tax debate continues

A LENGTHY TAX DISPUTE is set to take place between Rank Group and the taxman after the gaming and betting firm took a significant increase in pre-tax profits last year.

About £253m in VAT has already been returned to Rank by HMRC for the period between 1973 and 2009. While the business expects a ruling from the upper-tier tax tribunal later this year, some analysts are suggesting this latest spat could go on for as long as three years, reports the Daily Mail.

The business has been in discussions with the government as it tries to recoup taxes levied on its games machines.

In its latest statement, the group noted it has been in negotiations about several VAT and duty issues, and while it does not expect it will be held liable, it could be hit with a £15m bill.

The company had previously been in dispute with the taxman for several years over irrecoverable VAT in its Grosvenor Casinos arm between July 2007 and June 2012.

Despite a string of cases ruling against HM Revenue & Customs on that point, Rank lost its case and faced an £8.8m bill.

Rank took £61m in pre-tax profits last year in spite of continuing legal action, a 7% rise on 2010.

The company, which turns 75 this year, originally found fame during the 1960s for its involvement in the production of the Carry On films. Guoco, a Hong Kong-based investor, holds a 74% stake.

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