Sportech wins £97 million ‘Spot the Ball’ VAT appeal

HMRCBetting technology provider Sportech has been cleared of its long running ‘Spot the Ball’ £97 million VAT repayment dispute with Her Majesty’s Revenues & Customs (HMRC).

Today the UK Court of Appeal ruled unanimously in favour of Sportech’s case against HMRC which argues that the company was owed £40 million in VAT, plus added interest, on ‘Sport the Ball’ competition winnings between 1979 and 1996.

Sportech had been in legal dispute of the VAT payment since 2009, when the company lodged its original claim against HMRC’s charge.

In 2012 a UK tribunal court ruled in favour of Sportech’s appeal, stating that the operators was owed £95 million by HMRC relating to the  VAT repayment.

However, following a counter appeal by HMRC lodged with the upper tribunal in September 2014, Sportech’s VAT claim was reversed and the operator was compelled to return the money.

In April of this year, Sportech governance confirmed that its latest appeal had been put forward to the UK Court of Appeal, as the company looked to resolve its long-standing dispute.

Ian Penrose, Chief Executive of Sportech, commented on todays appeal:

“Having been through the various stages of the court process over the period of time, clearly we’re very pleased with the decision.”

Penrose further stated that Sportech shareholders would receive detailed update on its successful appeal in due course.

The matter may be further contested as HMRC has been given until 13 May 2016 to apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. 

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