Punch gives guidance to tenants on HMRC machine tax rebates

By Ellie Bothwell contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Appeal

Punch said it will pay tenants its share of the rebate as well as interest on both shares
Punch said it will pay tenants its share of the rebate as well as interest on both shares
Punch Taverns has reiterated its position regarding the “several hundred million pounds” collectively owed by pub operators in “overpaid” tax rebates, following more letters sent by HM Revenue & Customs to tenants.

Earlier this year, HMRC said it would be pursuing pub operators after a Court of Appeal decision reversed a High Court ruling from 2009 that led to hundreds of pub operators receiving tax rebates on overpaid VAT on gaming machine takings.

Punch has told tenants to inform the company when it receives a demand of payment from HMRC, promising that it will pay back its 50% share of the rebate as well as the interest on both shares, which is charged at 3% annually for the past two years.

It said the tenants will then need to arrange payments for the full amount with HMRC.

In a post on its Buying Club Website last week, the pubco said despite “prolonged discussions”, HMRC will not deal with it directly as the matter relates to individual pubs.

It added: “If you receive a letter from HMRC, please forward a copy of the letter to your credit assistant who will process our share of the credits onto your trade account and write to you with the necessary documentation.”

Concerns

Chris Lindesay, licensee of the Sun Inn in Dunsfold, Surrey and founder of the Punch Tenant Network, said he is concerned how licensees and ex-licensees will be able to afford to pay back the money, adding that 80% of Punch tenants earn less than £15,000 per year.

“We do not have machines so thank heaven are unaffected but I know very few tenants who would have had the resources to put the amount on one side for two years pending HMRC's appeal,” he said.

However, licensees may be repaid the refunds once more as casino operator Rank Group is appealing the most recent verdict, with a court hearing set for April.

Earlier this year, HMRC said it would be able to reach an alternative “mutually agreeable payment schedule” for those licensees in financial difficulty, although this would include additional interest charges.

Related topics: Punch Pubs & Co, Other operators

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