Business News

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has paid Sportech £93 million in relation to its long-running VAT dispute over Sportech’s Spot the Ball game. 

The operator is still owed an additional £4m, with this balance to be paid should HMRC's final appeal to the UK Supreme Court fail. The tax authority has applied for the right to appeal Sportech's successful judgement, with a decision to be made on this by Autumn this year. 

Sportech's claim was first submitted in 2009 and concerns VAT paid on the game between 1979 and 1996. It was heard by the First-tier Tribunal's Tax Chamber (FTT) in 2012, which ruled in favour of Sportech in March 2013.

HMRC then applied to the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) to appeal the decision and in September 2014 the Upper Tribunal ruled in favour of HMRC.

In January 2015, Sportech was granted the right to appeal to the Court of Appeal and in May 2016 the judges found unanimously in favour of Sportech. Earlier this month HMRC lodged its application directly to the Supreme Court to appeal the decision.

This final stage looks set to end the long-running case. In the event that the Supreme Court overturns the Court of Appeal's decision and issues judgment in favour of HMRC, which is likely to happen in late 2017 or early 2018, these monies along with any related interest would need to be repaid.

Shares in Sportech plc (Co.Data) (LSE:SPO) were trading up 5.45 per cent at 58.00 pence per share in London early Wednesday.