William Hill pursues HMRC FOBTs rebate

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William Hill has followed counterparts Betfred and Rank Group Plc in issuing an HMRC claim on compensation owed from tax charges related to fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The FTSE bookmaker could stand to secure a multi-million £ tax rebate on FOBT charges issued between 2005 and 2013.

William Hill’s HMRC rebate stands from an April High Court ruling that favoured a joint appeal issued by Betfred and Rank which contested HMRC VAT charges on machine duties, as operators could exempt charges in accordance to EU taxation policies and its precedent on fiscal neutrality.

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The High Court sided with the betting operators on the grounds that HMRC had made no distinction with regards to the ‘supply of games’ until it updated its VAT policy in January 2013.

Having lost two separate court rulings against Betfred and Rank, HMRC announced last week that it would no longer pursue further tribunal judgement on the tax dispute.

Following the High Court ruling, William Hill became the first bookmaker to seek compensation from the government. Updating investors, William Hill stated that it was examining scenarios related to its rebate fee.

“Whilst William Hill currently expects the net cash recovery to be material, its precise quantum remains uncertain. Nevertheless, the board has considered a number of scenarios which suggest a potential net cash recovery of between £125 million and £150 million,” the bookmaker detailed in a statement issued to the media.

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