Club pays off tax debt after HMRC launches wind-up

FAILURE to pay a tax bill on time sparked HMRC to launch a bid to liquidate Gosport Borough Football Club, The News can reveal.

Thursday, 4th August 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 4th August 2016, 8:20 am
Mark Hook

HMRC issued a winding-up petition over £7,500 unpaid VAT and tax from this financial year that was due in May.

Mark Hook, club chairman, said the money was sent off mid-June and the cheque cleared by July 1 – but that HMRC started the liquidation bid in the middle of June.

Mr Hook, who blamed cash flow trouble for not paying in May, branded the debacle a ‘waste’ of taxpayers’ cash.

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A High Court hearing has been set for Monday morning but Mr Hook says he has received an email from HMRC saying the petition will be dropped on the day, stopping any winding-up.

He told The News: ‘It’s all been paid up.

‘The tax man put in a petition for about £7,500, the current VAT and month one of this tax financial year, due to be paid on May 19. We paid it in June and they had asked for us to send a cheque.

‘What we didn’t realise was they already started the winding-up procedure.’

He added: ‘We’re not enamoured with how the taxman has behaved, especially as we don’t owe them a penny.’

Asked if the club owes any debts, he added: ‘We’re good.’

Details of the winding-up petition against Gosport Borough Football Club Limited emerged after a notice was published on The Gazette.

Mr Hook, also leader of Gosport Borough Council, said directors at the club knew about the issue but others had not been told.

He said: ‘We’ve paid it before the petition was put out. In that respect, why do the sponsors need to know?’

In February the Privett Park club was put under a transfer embargo.

At the time, players at the National League South side were behind on their wages.

A repayment plan was set up and the club denied being in financial crisis. About £64,000 won in its 2014 run to the FA Trophy final, was spent on doing up the ground.