Danny McCance 23 Mar 2018 12:43pm

Ladbrokes loses £71m appeal against HMRC

The gambling company has lost its appeal against the Revenue, meaning it will not recoup any of the £71m it was forced to pay in taxes

It is the third time Ladbrokes has had an appeal quashed, this time by the Court of Appeals, in the long-running tax avoidance case since 2015.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the previous two decisions and unanimously rejected the appeal, meaning the company cannot recover any of the money paid following the previous decision in February 2017.

“We note the court ruling. This was a case regarding taxes already paid and accounted for, so while the case may have gone against us, it has no bearing on our numbers,” a Ladbrokes spokesman said.

The original case dates back to a tax avoidance scheme in 2008 that was promoted by Big Four firm Deloitte. The scheme exploited a loophole in the tax system that was later closed in 2009.

“We are pleased that the Court of Appeal supports HMRC’s view that Ladbrokes were attempting to avoid corporation tax,” an HMRC spokesman said.

“Avoidance schemes like this just don’t work and HMRC will always take firm action against them,” they added.

In February 2016, changes in gambling taxes led to Ladbrokes posting its first loss in a decade – it reported a loss of £43.2m for the year ended 2015 compared to a £37.7m profit in the previous period.