Sportech hit by £93 million tax rebate reverse


Football pools, betting and horse racing operator Sportech has been ordered to pay back a £93 million (€115 million) tax rebate after the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) won its appeal against a VAT overpayment claim made by the operator.

The rebate ruling, relates to Sportech overpayments claimed on “Spot the Ball” competition operated by Sportech subsidiary brand Littlewoods Pools between 1979 and 1996.

The operator had been successful in its rebate appeal last March, however HMRC contest the result to the Tax & Chancery Chamber’s Upper Tribunal in April, who ruled in favour of HMRC. Sportech has been given until October 15 to decide whether to launch a counter appeal

The Walton based operator had already received the £93 million sum from HMRC in June. Following the new ruling Sportech, HMRC revealed that the operator could face additional tax charges of £3 million.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo last month Sportech CEO Ian Penrose commented on the matter: “We have had to run this business for the past five-and-a-half years while this claim has been running without putting any weighting on whether we win or not. There is a possibility we could lose.”

Shares in Sportech dropped 22% to 59.50p on the news of the ruling

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