So what does all this stuff to do with HMRC really mean for Bolton Wanderers?
It has become apparent that Bolton owe £300,000 to the tax man and that they could file a petition to wind up the club as a result. If a debt exceeds £750, no I don’t know why it’s such an unbelievably low figure, then the creditor can serve a statutory demand with the view of commencing bankruptcy or winding-up proceedings.
Now the HMRC don’t normally pursue such action for a first instance of not paying a tax bill. There is no indication that this is a repeat offence so Bolton should have some leeway from that perspective. Obviously with the murky world of Bolton Wanderers this may not actually be the case which would be a far more pressing issue.
Normally for a first offence the money owed would need to be paid within 12 months and all other taxes must be paid on time. This should in theory buy Bolton time, though of course if this cash crisis does not abate before the next tax payment is due then this will become a far more serious matter for the club. As it stands without a take-over going through it is hard to see where the money would come from for the next tax bill and that’s where things would get worrying.
It is key to maintain HMRC’s trust. Hopefully the club has kept them fully informed of this situation which is highly important. This ties into a legal responsibility to inform any creditor should the company be unable to pay them. If HMRC are not kept in the loop though and their trust is lost then they could well decide to mobilise their sizable legal team against you. Considering that Bolton have no money in the bank I’m not entirely sure how they will counter that, maybe legal aid will help them out…
This is a worrying concept. Unlike Eddie Davies, the players or even the PFA HMRC are not likely to care whether Bolton Wanderers Football Club survives. Yes their first recourse will not be to wind the club up. But this is action they will take eventually; I believe it was the death nail for the old Rangers for example.
HMRC moving into the picture simply increases the seriousness of the situation at Bolton and means that new ownership needs to be secured even more urgently than before.